googlehomeandamazonecho100731052orig Michael Brown

Google Assistant now works with over 5,000 smart devices, but Alexa is still far in the lead

The smart home assistant battle has shifted. No longer is it about how well your speaker can understand what you’re saying, it’s about how many devices can understand what it's telling them to do. And Google Assistant just made a big leap in that department.

Google has announced that Assistant can connect with more than 5,000 devices for your home, an increase of nearly 250 percent from January’s 1,500 devices. That includes many of Google’s own devices such as Chromecast, Nest thermostats and cameras, as well as popular smart home devices from a variety of manufacturers. In the blog post, Google said that “every major device brand works with the Assistant in the U.S.”

Specifically, Google called out Dish Hopper, August smart locks, and IKEA lights as recent smart devices that work with Google Assistant. The company also teased some new products on the way from its partners, including, “ADT lights and thermostat, Xiaomi lights, Hunter Douglas window treatments, Hisense’s H9E Plus and H9100E Plus TVs, Portable AC and Dehumidifiers, Arlo security cameras, and new LG appliances, which include everything from air purifiers to TVs.”

Jon Phillips

Google Assistant in table-top splendor, as Google Home.

However, Google Assistant still likely pales in comparison to Amazon’s Alexa partners. While Amazon doesn't give out official numbers of smart device partners, the company boasts some 40,000 skills for its personal assistant, many of which are used to control smart devices. Developers can also add in-skill purchasing, which will allow for more complex and exclusive interactions with Amazon's line of home assistants. And soon, Alexa will be able to carry on multi-step conversations without needing to say Alexa again. So you’ll be able to say, “Alexa turn off the kitchen light,” followed by “Turn on the living room light.”

However, with Google’s I/O conference set to start next Tuesday, it’s likely we’ll see more news regarding Google Home and Google Assistant. Earlier this week, Google announced a new investment program for “early-stage startups that share our passion for the digital assistant ecosystem.” The first batch of investments include GoMoment, Edwin, BotSociety, and Pulse Labs.

The home assistant battle is a contentious one, with smart speakers from Google, Amazon, and Apple all competing for supremacy. At last count, Amazon commanded some 70 percent of the market, with Google Home and Apple's HomePod a distant second and third, respectively.

Why this matters: The home speaker market has been growing like crazy, and a major reason for that is smart device control. Amazon may still have a lead, but Google is closing in fast, and the battle over who can control your home the best is only just beginning.

IDG Insider

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