Google to push voice services further into the market

Google have upped the stakes in the voice activated media market with the announcement of a new range of services for the Google Assistant which will see voice features added to smart TVs, home speakers and car entertainment systems.

While the tech giant came under criticism for trialling advertising on the service last year, Australian brands that have been testing Google Assistant in the market include Officeworks, which launched a voice activated shopping service in December, and Southern Cross Austereo’s news service tailored for the Google devices.

The announcement of new services at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas will see Google Home’s voice activations being rolled out to smart TVs from Lenovo, LG and Sony.

Drivers using Android Auto, available on brands including Ford, GM, Volkswagon and Volvo,  will also be able to access the service which Google claims in its announcement can be used to place orders with Starbucks or reserve parking places while also controlling Spotify and Google Maps.

Southern Cross Austereo’s Google Home service features a short news and sports segment updated several times a day which users can summon on demand.

At the time of the launch SCA’s head of digital strategy, Chris Derrick, said: “It’s so new that there’s no real benchmark anywhere globally on what’s best practice, how to do it best, what are the learnings, what are the upsides or the downsides to the traditional part of the business that we kind of have to do it to learn and see where it’s going to go in the future.”

Officeworks’ project was a collaboration with digital agency, First. Matt Ware, head of the agency’s operations told Mumbrella at the time of the service’s release that it was the first step into a growing market.

“Already 20% of search on Google is performed via voice and this will grow to over 50% by 2020,” Ware explained.

“Companies like Officeworks who adopt this medium early will be well ahead of their competitors in terms of understanding how their customers want to talk with them and what answers to give in return to assist.”

In the US, the brand experiments have not been without missteps, not least Google itself coming under criticism after trialling ads which saw Google Home users bombarded with promotions for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast on their devices.

Burger King also showed how the devices can be misused with a stunt that saw Google Homes being triggered by a television ad to read the Wikipedia definition of a Whopper burger.

Google expects the enhanced voice services to be rolled out on devices over the coming months.




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