Google Assistant To Be Monetized With Ads & E-Commerce

May 24, 2017 - Written By Dominik Bosnjak

The Google Assistant will be monetized with ads and e-commerce functionalities, according to Sridhar Ramaswamy, Senior Vice President of Advertising at Google. While speaking at San Francisco-based Google Marketing Next event on Tuesday, the company’s executive explained that the Alphabet-owned tech giant is currently putting a larger focus on exploring “transactional” business models for monetizing its artificial intelligence (AI) companion and it’s solely interested in using the voice-enabled helper as yet another beacon for pushing ads, though that isn’t to say that the Google Assistant won’t feature advertisements in the future. The Google Assistant already supports certain e-commerce functionalities, allowing consumers to use voice commands to purchase products and services from the company’s partners, and Ramaswamy hinted that the Mountain View-based company will likely be earning affiliate fees from such transactions in the future, though it’s unclear whether it’s already doing so.

As the Google Assistant’s main competitors, Amazon’s Alexa-infused connected devices are currently ahead in the e-commerce department seeing how they’re deeply integrated into Amazon’s robust ecosystem that’s also the largest online retail platform on the planet. Despite the fact that Google has some catching up to do, the company still isn’t prioritizing monetization and is instead working on improving the overall user experience of its digital helper, Ramaswamy revealed, thus reiterating Google’s general product strategy. In regards to traditional advertising, the company’s product management chief Jennifer Liu on Tuesday asked marketing professionals to submit their data to Google for the purposes of including it into search results provided by the Google Assistant, indicating that the companion will still be monetized through ads, though it remains to be seen to what degree.

The Google Assistant was one of the main talking points at this year’s Google I/O developer conference that was wrapped up last week, though the Mountain View-based tech giant is likely still years away from fully monetizing its voice-enabled companion. Even some completely established Google-made products like Maps still aren’t completely monetized due to the company’s general product strategy that prioritizes end user experience above everything else, and that approach to development is unlikely to change anytime soon. An update on Google’s AI-related endeavors is expected to follow later this year.