It was a big day in news for connected-home devices, with Google announcing plans to put its Home technology on a slew of new appliances, while two competing digital assistants — Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana — began to make nice with each other.
Maybe your notion of a voice-activated appliance is you screaming at your dishwasher to just please work properly for once. It’s becoming increasingly likely that your next washer will be able to listen and talk back to you.
The Google Assistant launched with the Google Home smart speaker in 2016 and works on both the company’s Android operating system and Apple’s iOS.
This morning, Google announced a major expansion in platforms where Assistant can live. In addition to third-party connected speakers from Anker, Panasonic, and Mobvoi, the company is planning to integrate Assistant into a wide variety of appliances.
Forgot to turn the dishwasher on before you went to bed? Tell your Assistant-enabled phone or speaker, “OK Google, run the dishwasher,” and it should work. At least, if your dishwasher is one of the appliances coming from “manufacturers like LG” that has Assistant integration.
Google promises to keep updating its list of participating manufacturers as the week goes on.
Robots Make Friends
Meanwhile, some of the other voice assistants out there appear to be teaming up. As Reuters reports, Alexa and Cortana appear to be making friends.
Amazon and Microsoft have announced a bit of a partnership for their respective AI assistants, Reuters explains. The two will be able to talk to each other for a more seamless consumer experience.
Basically, you’ll be able to run one through the other. If you’re not near your Amazon device, but you’re using a laptop with Cortana enabled, you’ll be able to say, “Cortana, open Alexa,” and you’ll have access to your Amazon service, or vice versa.
Analysts told Reuters they were surprised the companies were working so closely together, since usually these services — and the massive troves of data and code used to drive them — are kept closely proprietary.
But, analysts also note, what Amazon has just gained is one more edge on Google. By beating Google to the smart-speaker market, Amazon managed to become the “accidental winner” of the home AI race, and Google — which only released Home in late 2016 — has been scrambling to catch up.
Google, meanwhile, recently teamed up with Walmart to try and gain on the Amazon behemoth.