For the non tech-savvy amongst you, the Amazon Echo is a wi-fi enabled speaker that can control your home, play music and even order products directly off Amazon without you ever needing to get close to a keyboard. I have one and I love it. My daughters can play music without having access to my phone, it knows the weather, and can even give me a rundown of the headlines if I want a quick update.
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As a consumer, this is fantastic – I have access to the information I need faster than ever before – however, this was a strategic plan by Jeff Bezos of Amazon to simply get in front of the consumer before Google. As Bing has proven, even if you have the full might of Microsoft behind you, it’s hard to compete with Google directly. Amazon’s answer was to reach the consumer before the user reaches Google. Now I can play music, order movies, receive reminders to send anniversary gifts and order groceries without even pulling out my phone. Google has stepped into the ring.
The Google Home device goes on general sale on the 6th of April and offers the same functionality as the Echo, but with the Google suite of services. Maps, translations, weather, TV, movies, apps and YouTube will come as standard, whilst joining third party services such as Nest and Hue, allowing it to control the lighting and heating in your home.
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Whilst much of this has been common knowledge for some time, a video posted on The Verge showed the Google device reading out an advert for Beauty and the Beast in the morning summary. Whilst Google has denied this was a paid placement, those in the digital marketing world are now preparing for the next wave of PPC adverts.
Over the next 12 months, I suspect that we will be introduced to a new mechanism for bidding on voice ads. These will likely be tied to the Google answer box (usually found to the right of searches on a desktop) and the knowledge graph, as this is where many voice answers currently come from. It would make sense to tie these systems together as Google rolls out the new advertising tech.
The natural progression of this would be to offer advertising based on previous voice searches. My Amazon Echo companion app already has a list of all the previous voice commands from my seven-minute workout to the rather silly ‘Alexa, beam me up’ in which it responds with ‘aye captain’ along with the iconic Star Trek sound. Based on previous requests, Google can tailor and deliver ads that are relevant to me. This is all very interesting, if a little disruptive, however, we must remember that Google is primarily an advertising company and if new technology stands in the way of delivering that service, they must respond with their own voice activated assistant with an advertising functionality in-built.
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