The trouble is that Amazon (and Google) has first-party Alexa (and Google Assistant) products that are quite good. "They are starting to express a lot more intent", he said. It's getting easier than ever to control every mundane appliance and task around you with the voice assistant of your choice - but an ever-smarter home still comes with compromises. These Smart Displays would be manufactured by different partners like LG, Lenovo and Sony. But there could also be some uneasiness about revealing even more about their habits, preferences, and routines to distant computers that are always listening for their commands. The company has installed a giant booth outside CES and taken out sponsorship of the Las Vegas Monorail. Someone, it seems, forgot to ask the Assistant for a weather forecast in CES week, and torrential rains on Tuesday forced the Google tent - which proved not to be waterproof in several places - to close. Smart displays are essentially speakers with tablet-like displays that can play music, control your smart home and provide visuals as well.
Nonetheless, Google Assistant powered devices were at least in evidence in more water-tight areas of the show.
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Google has also made it clear that the device is not just a tablet with Google in-built. A smart home security camera produced by Angree, crowd-funded in 2015 and going on sale in March, turns away when you arrive home. "We wanted this to be instead you're having a conversation and the display enhances it, so a lot of the work is going to ensure we maintain that simplicity".
Google just announced a slew of new Smart Displays featuring Google Assistant at CES 2018. The potential for Amazon to dominate the next phase of computing is a serious threat to Google, a company built on revenue from online search and advertising. The real question, he says, will be how Apple will differentiate itself, now that the key aspect of its HomePod - audio quality - has been co-opted by speakers such as the Google Home Max and Sonos One, not to mention others on the horizon.
An assortment of speakers and sound bars naturally showed off Alexa integration, but so did desktops, laptops, phones, routers, TVs, cars, headphones, washers, dryers, refrigerators, light switches, smoke alarms, toilets, and even exhaust vents.