Alphabet Inc.’s Google is reputed as having one of the most intelligent artificial intelligence infrastructure globally. Its wide reach via its Chrome browser and Android mobile operating system means its influence runs deep.
The main issue is whether the company can really find the right mix to convert these enviable advantages into the next in-demand product. This is the question most attendees at the company’s annual I/O developer conference.
This question was partly answered by Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Pichai said he thinks the consumer technology industry is heading towards AI technologies such as machine learning. This means newer products and services are expected to have some degree of intelligence. This concept is commonly referred to as smart consumer technology.
Google plans to gain its footing in this new frontier with the launch of the first early-stage products such as Google Assistant. Google Assistant will do certain tasks for you such as answering questions on your behalf. The virtual assistant is expected to be compatible with various products.
The virtual assistant is likely to succeed mainly because Google has massive troves of personal user data. This helps the company develop a product that can anticipate and foresee its user’s personal needs. For example, Google has access to its users’ emails or calendars.
Invested Heavily in Natural Language Processing
Another advantage is that the company has invested heavily in research on natural language processing. This technology helps understand human users when they communicate with machines in normal everyday language. Both Facebook Inc and Microsoft Corporation recognized the importance of this technology in their own developer meets this year. However, Google is far ahead in this complex technology.
Google’s Achilles Heel has been its inability to define how to capitalize on its advantage in this technology. Competitors such as Amazon.com, Inc. launched intelligent products such as Amazon Echo, whose concept is based on natural language processing. The voice-activated gadget is capable of doing tasks such as hailing an Uber or ordering pizza. However, the device has no compatible smartphone platform. This hasn’t hindered it from netting modest success in the market.
Google’s Pichai acknowledged Amazon while launching a copycat gadget named Google Home, . The Android software maker had spent years creating different products, such as the Nexus Q, before it could finally get it right. Now, Google will be an everyday part of your home via the Home device.
Another area where Google has lagged behind is virtual reality. Facebook stole the show with its Oculus VR headset that was unveiled early this year. It also partnered with Samsung Electronics, an Android OEM, to launch a VR system dubbed Gear that works on Android. Google has answered this by announcing the release of its new VR platform called Daydream.
Google Also Unveils AI-Powered Mobile Messaging App
Facebook is also doing great in mobile messaging, which is widely touted as the next mobile computing frontier. This has been possible due to its WhatsApp and Messenger services. The social media company has also launched M, a service that initially depends on humans to reply to user queries. The service will eventually switch to artificial intelligence to perform this task. The company also unveiled automated software programs called chatbots that will help in customer service, answering queries or assist in e-commerce.
Google has launched its own messaging service dubbed Allo. Like M, it can respond to user queries with instant replies. However, it relies on the AI-powered Google Assistant to do so instead of humans.
Google’s other interesting product is Instant Android Apps. This software means the company is still looking for ways to improve its mobile apps. The newest plan is for users to access apps without having to download and install them. The program involves developers creating software that slices their apps into smaller parts. Users will only require a small portion of the software to access that particular feature.