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Google looks to place a greater focus on Assistant and its own devices in 2018

Google looks to place a greater focus on Assistant and its own devices in an effort to create a tighter device and service ecosystem.

Published onJanuary 11, 2018

  • Google’s doubling down on Assistant, reportedly revamping its online store in February.
  • The search giant is also reportedly planing to allow purchases with Assistant.
  • The idea is for Google to remain competitive with Amazon’s Alexa.

Google has made great strides with Assistant, but the search giant still has plenty of work to do to catch up with Amazon’s Alexa. One way Google is reportedly looking to do that is by launching a revamped online store in February.

Bloomberg reports the online store will place a much greater emphasis on its own products, like Nest devices, in an attempt to double down on Assistant. This is the second overhaul of Google’s online store. The search giant did the same thing last October when it launched the Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, and other products.

The company might also eventually allow you to buy products and services through Assistant. It is currently only being discussed.

According to people with familiar with Google’s plan, the company is concerned about losing market share to Amazon. It is estimated Google Home will capture 25 percent of the smart speaker market in 2018, while Amazon’s Echo will command a 68 percent.

The big story at CES 2018: Google vs Amazon (Video)

It is also apparently concerned device makers looking to make money off of voice interactions will turn to Amazon. LG, for example, makes smartphones that support Assistant, but also Alexa-enabled appliances. Amazon has been a conduit for purchases for quite some time and that will not change, as long as Alexa continues to have a presence in gadgets and appliances.

Even though a Google spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment, Google vice president of engineering Scott Huffman confirmed the company wants to spread Assistant to mobile devices, home gadgets, and cars to Bloomberg. Huffman also said his team is working on closer customizations with longtime Google partners to enable features like automatic payments for mobile phone bills.

Google’s hardly in a hole. Assistant runs on 400 million devices around the world and “tens of millions of Google devices for the home” were sold in 2017. Amazon may be running the voice assistant show, but Google is serious about not only maintaining its market share, but expanding upon it.

This is a developing story, so we will update this story as we receive more information.

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