Monday, May 23, 2016

Google Home Poses Challenge to Amazon Echo

Google Home
During the annual developer conference I/O last 18 May, Google may it clear that Home will offer Amazon Echo a run for its money.

Gadget geeks have known that the new smart speaker was coming— it was reportedly developed under the internal codename Chirp — but now everyone knows a lot more. Specifically, Home will use the beefed-up, voice-activated Google Assistant, and that it can serve up music, weather, directions, flight information and much more.

In other words, Home is Google’s best answer to Amazon’s Echo. And it ought to scare Amazon, because Google has a number of pre-existing business advantages that almost guarantee this product’s success.

For starters, Google announced a murderer’s row of launch partners for Home, including TicketMaster (LYV), WhatsApp (FB), Pandora (P), GrubHub (GRUB), OpenTable, Spotify, Uber and Instacart.

Google is not yet opening up its Home platform to all third-party developers, as Amazon has done with Echo, but with a list like this, it doesn’t need to. These big-name partners will offer consumers their services (send a text message; book a dinner reservation; order a ride; select groceries) via verbal command, without having to open up an app or visit a website.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because Facebook announced something very similar at its own developer conference, F8, just last month.

Facebook is doing it in Messenger using automated chat-bots, but it’s the same kind of gambit. Hopes are high that users will love the convenience of ordering services all in one place, from a human-like entity, without having to visit the separate web homes of those individual services.

Both Facebook and Google are looking down the road to a time when people want to do every web function in one place. Facebook, of course, has been moving toward that goal for years with products like Instant Articles, which let you read news stories without having to leave Facebook.

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