- Beck Diefenbach/Reuters
- Google and Amazon are expanding their efforts to promote their digital assistants to a number of third-party manufacturers, as the war between the two escalates.
- Amazon recently removed Google products from its e-commerce platform, and Google dropped support for YouTube on Amazon’s online platforms.
- This is why devices they make themselves are still important, and why Google is reportedly planning to launch an overhauled store to sell its own gadgets.
The war between Google and Amazon is escalating.
A new report from Bloomberg says that Google is planning to launch a revamped website for its store in February, which will better promote its hardware lineup and its Google Assistant software.
The Assistant is Google’s digital helper, which is at the heart of all of its products. That seems to be more important to Google than its Google Home speakers, whose hardware is essentially just a case wrapping the assisting technology.
Google reportedly wants its hardware lineup to have a recognisable, Apple-esque look, which is why the website will use the Assistant to unify its ecosystem of products.
Bloomberg’s sources claim that Google’s renewed emphasis on hardware – in this case with the redesigned store – is part of an ongoing effort to fend off Amazon as it’s the e-commerce colossus Google is apparently most afraid of.
Google’s Pixel phones may be getting rave reviews, even better than those of the iPhones and Galaxys of the smartphone realm, but that’s not where the war is at.
Smart speakers and IoT, digital assistant-enabled devices – where Amazon has a two-year lead – are more important.
“In the smart-speaker market specifically,” Bloomberg reports, “[market research firm] EMarketer estimates Echo will command a 68 percent share this year, compared with 25 percent for Google Home.”
Google isn’t really a hardware company. It doesn’t make devices to compete with other manufacturers and make money off hardware sales, but rather to expand the reach of its software offering and get people to use its products (namely the Assistant, and, as a direct consequence, Search) more.
Every query Amazon’s Alexa gets is one Google loses; and Amazon is playing the same game, using its own virtual butler to lure in as many Prime subscribers as it can. In this view, Alexa (the assistant) is more important than the Echo itself.
“A lot of our partners sell on Amazon,” Steve Rabuchin, Amazon’s Alexa vice president, told Bloomberg. “We’re happy if someone picks a Sonos one over one of our devices. They still sign in as an Amazon customer.”