During the keynote speech at the annual Google I/O developer conference on Wednesday Google unveiled quite a few things, two of which were the Google Home smart speaker product, and the machine intelligence system that powers it known as Google Assistant. If you happened to catch the speech you would have seen brief demonstrations of Google Assistant in action, and you would have heard a familiar sounding voice coming out of the Google Home speaker, as it sounds a lot like the voice being used in the Google app. While the voice for both the Google Assistant and the Google App are one in the same, Google notes that Search and Google Assistant are thought of as “fundamentally different” and that they expect people to use both products in entirely different ways.
Although it operates in a similar way to Search in that it can deliver answers to you if you ask it a question, Google Assistant is also capable of more than just answering queries. It can perform tasks, talk back to you and more, and Google has apparently hinted that they may decide to forgo an ad-based business model and instead sell Google Assistant to companies who may want it for powering their own products. This, of course, is not yet a final decision and with Google having not yet confirmed how they plan to make money from Google Assistant, it’s still entirely possible that they may end up using ads.
Google Assistant is still not available but Google does have it ready for two products so far, one which is the previously mentioned Google Home, and the upcoming messaging app that they announced on Wednesday, Allo, which you can currently pre-register for over at Google Play. Google’s intelligence chief, John Giannandrea, noted that they haven’t focused on the business side of things just yet, but did mention that it could make sense for them to offer up Assistant to other companies. Which companies those may be, if any, is unclear, but as per usual Google will end up making that information public eventually once they decide how to make revenue from Google Assistant.