Google’s High Profile CES

There was no shortage of new smart home technology and voice-enabled devices at CES. While Alexa may have made a larger overall splash with devices and integrated products, it was Google that displayed a different and more active presence than what we’ve seen before. Along with declaring a greater focus on discoverability and developer community relations, they launched several new features for their assistant. Now that voice is no longer a novelty technology, it’s up to the tech companies to advance the market and cultivate community along the way.

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Assistant Advances 

Google announced a slew of new features for Google Assistant at CES. Some of the highlights include the assistant being able to read full webpages to users, interpret and translate across languages in real time and scheduling assistant actions to be done at a specified time. Google has been continuously advancing their assistant for some time now, but this year’s CES saw the company develop a stronger presence and commitment to the platform. Read more on Voicebot.

Smart Speaker Standoff 

Last week it was reported that Sonos is suing Google for infringing on their smart speaker design and stealing the technology for use in their own devices. The Verge reports that the lawsuit includes assertions that Google products were using strikingly similar features to Sonos’ technology including “synchronizing audio across groups of speakers, adjusting the group volume, and setting up devices on a local wireless network.” Google has denied the accusations. Sonos further alleges that Amazon engaged in similar practices, but that the company did not have the resources to engage in two big legal battles at once. Read more on The Verge.

More than Shavers 

After announcing their return to the audio world in the summer, Braun has decided to get into the smart speaker game. If you didn’t know, Braun has a long history in the audio space and their latest device line shows they are ready to continue innovating where they left off. They will be launching three models of the new speakers with Google Assistant onboard. The high-end model will be selling for $1,199 suggesting that Braun is positioning itself on the ultra premium end of the speaker market. The new devices will debut at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Design Store in New York and become widely available this summer. Read more on droidlife.

Stats Don’t Lie

More than 50% – US respondents who said that they live in households with a smart speaker reported having multiple speakers in their household (data via Business Insider survey)

54% – U.S. adults that have used voice commands (data via NPR and Edison Research)

Chart of the Week

Smart Speaker Growth
(NPR and Edison Research via Voicebot)