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Google staying mum on Assistant-powered smart display

by Justin Herrick | April 3, 2018April 3, 2018 8:00 am PST

The journey for Google Assistant is far from over. When it launched a few years ago, the digital assistant was exclusive to Google Home and the Pixel. Then the company brought Google Assistant over to additional Android devices, Android Wear, Android TV, Android Auto, and the Pixelbook. It’s even available on iOS devices these days. Google already has the near-future planned out, too.

Next up are smart displays, a little-known category that’s proven to be successful for one of Google’s biggest competitors. But the company doesn’t want to rely solely on third-party manufacturers. There’s confirmed interest in producing a Google-branded smart display.

Speaking with Variety, the head of Google’s home efforts revealed the company is watching the category and won’t rule out the release of an in-house product.

The partners who expressed immediate support for Google Assistant on smart displays are preparing to release their devices, but Google has been quiet on what it would like to do. Rishi Chandra, Vice President of Product Management for home-based devices, wouldn’t say whether or not Google is actively developing a smart display.

“I’m not saying we are not going to do it,” Chandra said. Google launched the Home Mini and Home Max as 2017 came to a close, the former being a crazy-hot item during the holidays.

Adding a smart display to give a ‘face’ to Google Assistant seems like a logical step forward to fill the company’s lineup and expand the digital assistant’s appeal.

It wasn’t until last year when smart displays became relevant. Amazon rolled out the Echo Show, which is powered by Alexa. The online retailer then followed-up with the smaller Echo Spot. Both are smart displays that communicate with visual and audio responses. They’re also top-selling items on Amazon due to their versatility and low prices.

His interview also made it clear Google isn’t shying away from sound quality. Google is investing heavily in smart sound, the ability to have artificial intelligence analyze a room and the people nearby to optimize output. Chandra says Google wants to figure out how to combat conversations and background noise to maintain a high level of sound quality but nothing is ready to be announced at this time.

The end-goal, according to the Google executive, is to offer “a must-have product” at different price points for “daily-use cases.”

Variety

Justin Herrick

Justin is easily attracted to power buttons. His interest in technology started as a child in the 1990s with the original PlayStation, and two...

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