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Google Assistant API launches to challenge Amazon Alexa

Aim is to build an ecosystem around the smart home device.

By James Nunns

Google wants to make its Assistant smarter so it is opening it up to third-party developers.

The Google Assistant, which brings together technologies such as Knowledge Graph and Natural Language Processing, is to have its API made open so that the company can build an ecosystem of developers around it.

This will hopefully mean that it will be able to connect to more apps and services, making it a more appealing system to customers.

In October the company previewed Actions on Google, the developer platform for the Google Assistant, now developers will be able to build Conversation Actions for Google Home, the company’s smart home speaker.

This means that developers will be able to engage with users in conversation in order to do things like provide assistance, answer questions, make bookings and more.

The hope is that Google Assistant will learn from user behaviour and get better at providing answers that are specific to the user.

The Amazon Echo is powered by the AI Alexa.

The Amazon Echo is powered by the AI Alexa.

One of Google Home’s main rivals is the offering from Amazon called Echo, which is powered by the AI Alexa.

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Amazon opened up Alexa to third-parties in 2015 while Amazon Web Services recently revealed Amazon Lex; a service for building conversational interfaces into applications using voice and text.

The idea from both companies is that third-parties will be keen to develop additional services and features and build an ecosystem around the AI. A richer ecosystem would likely mean that users have a much richer experience.

Some third-party services are already available on the Echo and Google Home devices such as Uber, Spotify, Just Eat, but this could be about to grow significantly.

The smart home device market is still in its early days but PwC predicts that it could be worth around $150bn globally by 2020. This potential market is attracting a lot of interest and Microsoft is the most recent company to be rumoured to be entering the market with a HomeHub feature for Windows 10.

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