Are smart assistants just a fad? Google doesn't seem to think so. In fact, the Mountain View-based tech giant has recently detailed its plans for the future of this emerging technology which Google predicts will soon be omnipresent. So, if smart assistants truly do become an irreplaceable part of our future lives, how does Google intend to convince us to use its AI-powered solution and not one that Facebook, Microsoft, or some other tech giant comes up with? The answer is simple: mapping data. A huge amount of geographic data Google has accumulated over the years is precisely something its competitors don't have access to so it makes sense for the company to try to base its future AI assistants on it in order to offer something they can't. According to Google Maps division chief Jen Fitzpatrick, that's exactly what the company decided to do.
In Fitzpatrick's own words: “Maps is a pretty incredible swiss army knife of a product." In a recent interview with Business Insider, she expressed her strong belief in mapping data as an incredibly important factor of future smart assistants, adding that Google has the upper hand over its competitors because the company is heavily investing in mapping endeavors for almost two decades while the likes of Apple and Tesla just started taking notice of similar projects in the last few years. So, what's Google doing right now after it has collected most of the relevant mapping data on the planet? As Fitzpatrick reveals, the company is currently trying to build the next generation of Maps which will boast the "most detailed understanding of the real world that's ever existed." That includes marking landmarks, shops, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, gas stations, and everything else that could be potentially useful to a Maps user. Naturally, this process started a while back but Google is now increasing its efforts to finish it as quickly as possible.
In addition to simply marking points of interest on its maps, Google is also attempting to put a bigger emphasis on past experiences of its users related to specific locations. Fitzpatrick wants a future in which people can ask their smart assistants to recommend them something like a "pet-friendly restaurant in Marseille" or a "tourist-friendly bar in Budapest that plays jazz music". Furthermore, Google is also exploring new avenues in regards to the type of data it collects. Things like natural disasters, taxis, and emergency services are just some of the stuff the company will soon be trying to track or is already tracking to some extent.
The general is plan is that Google's smart assistants evolve simultaneously with its Maps service by utilizing new sets of data Maps will gradually start having access to in the future. Fitzpatrick described this step as the "next chapter of Google Maps". What exactly that chapter will entail remains to be seen but one thing is certain: Google is heavily betting on smart assistants.