Google As­sis­tant comes to fridges, wash­ing ma­chines, vac­uum clean­ers

Mint ST - - CORPORATE - BY MARK BERGEN feed­back@livemint.com SAN FRAN­CISCO

Google’s push to place its dig­i­tal as­sis­tant, the search gi­ant’s new prod­uct cen­tre­piece, in­side ev­ery con­sumer ap­pli­ance imag­in­able is edg­ing for­ward.

The Al­pha­bet Inc. unit an­nounced on Wed­nes­day that its voice-based chat ser­vice is now com­pat­i­ble with a wave of home de­vices, in­clud­ing speak­ers and ev­ery­day house­hold ap­pli­ances like re­frig­er­a­tors.

After ar­riv­ing on Google’s smart­phone and speaker in 2016, the com­pany hopes its chat­bot can field reg­u­lar search queries and be­come a ve­hi­cle for on­line com­merce. On that front, Google faces stiff com­pe­ti­tion from Ama­zon.com Inc., which is also try­ing to spread its dig­i­tal as­sis­tant Alexa.

LG Elec­tron­ics Inc., the first An­droid hand­set to use Google’s as­sis­tant, an­nounced at a con­fer­ence in Ber­lin that it plans to bring the ser­vice to up­com­ing wash­ing ma­chines and re­frig­er­a­tors.

Google said the as­sis­tant would soon be in things like sprin­klers and vac­uum clean­ers.

The com­pany also un­veiled new speak­ers with the fea­ture—the first be­yond Google’s own Home de­vice—made by Pana­sonic Corp. and Mob­voi, a Chi­nese start-up that counts Google as a strate­gic in­vestor. No­tice­ably ab­sent from the part­ner list is Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics Co., a ma­jor man­u­fac­turer of An­droid phones and home ap­pli­ances that is de­vel­op­ing its own voice as­sis­tant. BLOOMBERG

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