A great deal of consumer goods and retail industry news last week focused on Sears’ move to make Kenmore appliances available on Amazon.com and integrated with Alexa. However, very few people covered (including Voicebot) the announcement that the GE appliances line quietly started supporting Google Assistant at the end of June. This is significant news.
Google Home and Google Assistant came to market more than two years after Amazon Echo and Alexa. That head start meant Amazon had much more time to line up third party OEM integrations. GE was among the first. GE even developed its own application, Geneva, so customers could have a consistent experience across all appliances under the brand’s umbrella.
Geneva Now Supports Google Assistant
Geneva now supports Google Assistant users. That means consumers can either use their Google Home smart speaker or Google Assistant from a smartphone. This is good news for Google because more smart appliance integrations increase the value of the service while helping it move toward parity with Alexa.
Google Assistant trails Amazon Alexa by a large margin when it comes to voice applications. The most recent tally based on Voicbot research is 15,000 for Amazon and fewer than 400 for Google. that number disparity is a bit misleading because there are many lightly used Alexa skills with shallow functionality. However, the number of robust voice applications on Alexa is still a factor of 20 higher than for Google Assistant. That includes the smart home category where Alexa lists 518 skills from top brands.
Good for Consumers
This move is obviously good for Google, but it is also good for consumers. Kitchen and Bath Business Online reports:
The 2016 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study reported that 33 percent of homeowners are choosing new kitchen appliances with tech features like connectivity.
This means that consumers that prefer using Google Assistant and GE appliance brands don’t have to purchase an Amazon Echo to use voice control in the kitchen. It also means that consumers have the added convenience of using a smartphone to control their appliances. What are some of the use cases cited by GE?
- “Hey Google, ask Geneva Home to set my air conditioning to 70 degrees.”
- “Hey Google, ask Geneva Home when the dishwasher will be finished.”
- “Hey Google, ask Geneva Home to heat water for coffee.”
Leading Appliance Brands Will Support Google Assistant
GE has many other scenarios supported as well. Given Google’s tremendous footprint globally, this move by GE seems like a sign of things to come. Most appliance makers will start with integration for Amazon Alexa because of its early market lead and consumer market share in the U.S. However, they will follow with Google support knowing that it has a big install based of Android smartphone users and Google Home is now moving into several global markets ahead of Amazon’s Alexa product line. If you are in Canada, Australia or France and purchase GE appliances, your only option may well be Google Assistant for voice control.