Google may be making a smart display to rival the Amazon Echo Show, which both comes as a surprise and also makes total sense.
Up until now, it’s looked like Google was leaving the manufacture of a Google Assistant-powered smart speaker with a screen to third-party companies like JBl and Lenovo (pictured), but now it looks like the search giant may be getting its own hands dirty.
This revelation comes from an interview that Google VP Rishi Chandra had with Variety. Now, Chandra didn’t officially announce a new product, as much as give us a hint of a plan with a delicious double negative: “I’m not saying we are not going to do it.”
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Chandra claims in the interview that the smart display is “an emerging category”, and that Google’s strategy could follow the pattern of its smart speaker rollout, with Google own brand devices sitting alongside third-party devices.
Google is clearly treading a fine line, with a push to proliferate Google Assistant into as many devices as possible (including smartwatches with Android Wear and cars with Android Auto), it can’t risk making Assistant an unattractive proposition to manufacture for. At the same time it does seem strange that its own range is incomplete presently.
The timing is also relevant, as Google has recently re-absorbed Nest from its parent company Alphabet. The reason this is important is to do with the use-cases for a smart display.
Above and beyond watching YouTube videos (which you can’t currently do on an Echo), being able to look at the live feed from a video doorbell like the Hello that Nest is about to release, could make a Google smart display a more essential piece of kit.
And that seems to be Google’s target: “The simple truth is we need to become a must-have product,” Chandra said, “I’m looking for daily-use cases.” Could security camera and doorbell monitoring be that daily necessity? Possibly.