Google Assistant could be preparing for its Amazon Alexa moment

(Image credit: GE)

Today, Google announced that it wants to make its virtual assistant more widely available by freeing it from the confines of smartphones, smartwatches and Google Home and rolling it into a wider range of third-party products.  

At CES earlier this year, we felt that we couldn't turn a corner without seeing a product boasting Amazon Alexa support. Alexa was in everything from fridges to alarm clocks. At this year’s IFA in Berlin, however, it looks like it might be Google Assistant’s turn to be the star of the show. 

Not long from now, you’re going to start finding Google Assistant in third-party speakers, washing machines, vacuum cleaners and more. 

Unlimited assistance

So, outside of Google Home what speakers will Google Assistant be coming to? Perhaps the most noteworthy that was announced at IFA was probably Panasonic’s SC-GA10. Due later this year, the speaker is being positioned against Apple’s HomePod in terms of prioritizing sound, but it’ll be fully fitted with Google Assistant support to ensure it has smarts too. If anything, it's an interesting competitor to Google Home itself. 

You’ll also find Google Assistant in Anker’s Zolo Mojo and Mobovi’s TicHome Mini, but according to Google, this is “just the start” and even more speakers will be announced with Google Assistant support throughout IFA. While the speakers will appeal to a wide range of budgets, they’ll all be capable of the same Google Assistant functions such as web searching, schedule organising, smart home control and voice recognition. 

Not content to stay within the confines of speakers, Google will also be partnering with appliance manufacturers such as LG. Later this year Google Assistant support will be integrated into a range of washing machines, dryers, and vacuum cleaners so you’ll be able to control your kitchen via any Google Assistant equipped device, whether that’s a speaker or a smartphone. 

Google has said in its blog post that it will continue to update users throughout IFA on the different partnerships it’s making and where we can expect to see Google Assistant over the next year or so.

It’s interesting, however, that this announcement has come around the same time Microsoft and Amazon announced they would be aligning their assistants, Cortana and Alexa, more closely. 

Whether or not Google is firmly setting itself up as a flexible digital assistant platform through these partnerships, or if it has any intention to work with other AI assistants, is unclear.

We’re on the ground at this year’s IFA, so we’ll hopefully be able to bring you hands-on impressions of the new devices supporting Google Assistant and get some feedback from industry experts on how exactly they think the digital assistant market is going to evolve.

  • IFA 2017 is Europe's biggest tech show. The TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and hands-on first impressions of new phones, watches and other tech as they're announced  
Emma Boyle

Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.