The Google team is seemingly everywhere at CES 2019, both in signage at the main convention center, (“Hey Google”), a large booth presence and hundreds of people dressed in white “Hey Google” jumpsuits, topped off with matching “Hey Google” beanies.
Arch-rival Amazon, on the other hand, has a small, understated ballroom at the lower trafficked Sands Convention Expo, showcasing a potpourri of products, from Amazon and other vendors, that use the Alexa voice commands. Staffers are adorned in blue Alexa sports shirts.
On the eve of the show, the companies threw down the gauntlet: Amazon Echo speakers and third-party vendors using the system have sold over 100 million units, Amazon said. That’s 10 times less than Google’s announced stat, which is that 1 billion people have the Google Assistant, in Android and Apple iOS phones, the Google Home speakers and third-party products.
Both companies are set to dominate the next stage of computing, voice style, whether that’s via announcements (“Hey, Google”) or graphical routines set up to have the assistants work with us automatically.
Google pushed really hard for dominance at CES, “and won 2018, by growing faster than Amazon,” says Bret Kinsella, the editor of Voicebot.ai, a blog that chronicles the growth of voice computing. But even with the smaller physical presence, Amazon won the CES bragging rights, by just having more products from more companies available for Alexa, he says.
For instance, while Google offered many products, including a new $79 alarm clock from Lenovo, the promise of the Assistant finally coming to the Sonos One speaker in 2019 a year and a half after the company announced it and “Hey, Google” on Samsung TVs and the Instant Pot, Amazon countered with many, many more products, including: