Google is quickly building out developer resources for Google Actions to facilitate more application development for Google Home and Google Assistant. This week, Google revealed two new pages on its Actions on Google site listing several agencies, development and analytics tools the active on the platform. It was just two months ago that Amazon revealed its list of 27 agency, development and analytic tool companies supporting Alexa developers. Google’s list includes just thirteen companies.
Interestingly, just five companies receive the tacit endorsement of both Google and Amazon: agencies Solstice, WitLingo and XAPPmedia; developer framework Pullstring; and analytics tool Voicelabs. I say tacit endorsement because Google provides a disclaimer at the bottom of the page that it isn’t “endorsing any specific development tool, consultancy, or analytics tool.” Let’s face it, if they are on the page, Google has high confidence in these companies. Amazon is a little more straightforward with its listing: “Experienced Skill Builders and Tools.” Both eschew the normal term “partner” but you can expect that to come later.
Leading Agencies for Google Actions
Witlingo recently brought Motley Fool to Google Home after first developing an Alexa skill for Echo. Voicebot reported earlier this week that XAPPmedia helped Progressive Insurance become the first insurer with an Action for Google Home. Assist is known for building the Lonely Planet Action.
Google Action Development Tools
Maybe the most surprising list to some observers is that the developer tools section includes three companies that either directly or indirectly compete with Google-owned API.ai. Kudos to Google for not forcing developers into a one-size-fits-all framework and ensuring that innovation is broad based. Pullstring formally announced its support for Google Actions in early March and supported an Action for iHeartMedia that enabled fan voting for a 2017 iHeartRadio award.
Analytics Tools for Google Actions
Analytics tools for voice applications are an underappreciated segment. Voice user interfaces are still new for most developers and it is critical that developers have an easy way to easily view Google Action activity and interactions so they can fine tune the user experience. This is critical for user adoption and retention. In this category, Google recognized the capabilities of the leading analytics tools for Facebook bots and Amazon Alexa skills, respectively dashbot.io and Voicelabs.co.
Google is Closing the Gap with Amazon
Whereas Amazon Echo came to the U.S. market two years ahead of Google Home and it had a six month lead in its UK product launch, its developer ecosystem is coming together much more quickly and closing the gap with Amazon. Google Actions today total no more than 2% of the Amazon Alexa skill count. It is important that a robust developer ecosystem rise up around Google Home and Google Assistant and this week’s recognition of skilled Google Action developers and tools is a positive step.