Google Home officially went on sale in France earlier this morning for €150. Retailers Fnac and Darty are offering it for online ordering in addition to Google Store France. Darty is promising delivery by tomorrow at 6:00pm, provides an in-store pick-up option and is offering the device at a €1 discount for the low price of €149.
First in France
The launch in France is another first for Google. After coming to the U.S. market two years after Amazon’s Echo and about eight months behind Echo in the UK, Google Home recently became the first smart speaker voice assistant in Canada, Australia and now France. Amazon utilized its early market entry combined with clever marketing, product line expansion and price promotion to build a dominant position in the U.S. and to a lessor extent the UK and Germany. In these markets, Alexa has become synonymous with the entire concept of smart speakers. However, Alexa and Amazon Echo have not entered a new market since September 2016.
Google is leveraging its global presence and long history of multi-language voice services on Android to beat Amazon into new international markets. The voice recognition predecessor to Google Assistant was Google Now. That feature wasn’t as smart in terms of conversational interaction as Google Assistant is today, but few people know that Google Now supported over 50 languages and could operate as many as seven simultaneously. This depth of language recognition technology is a tremendous advantage for Google. Apple is in a similar situation and could use those technology assets to catch up quickly to its more advanced rivals.
Ahead of Djingo Too
Google Home also beat the Djingo voice assistant to market. Djingo presumably will not have much trouble with Natural Language Processing (NLP) for the French language as it is being developed by French telecom giant Orange and is not currently focused on any other languages. There will be many voice assistants in each of these markets so Djingo still has plenty of opportunity despite the early arrival of Google Home.
Google’s New Smart Home Advantage
One area that Google will now have a particular advantage over its rivals is third-party OEM integrations. Amazon’s Alexa is widely supported by many smart home device and appliance makers serving the U.S. and UK markets. Google has worked hard to catch up with Assistant integrations for these devices, but it still isn’t a focus for these product makers that are now routinely promoting their Alexa support. Being first in Canada, Australia and France means Google has a chance to be first with device support in these countries and turn the tables on Amazon.
What about Spanish?
Mandarin Chinese is the most spoken language in the world and English is second when you include non-native speakers. Third in that list is Spanish. There is a wide range of regional variation in Spanish which makes it a heterogenous market for voice assistants. However, this may well be another regional advantage for Google and eventually Apple due to their long-support of Spanish voice recognition on Android and through Siri respectively. Google mentioned at its annual developer conference that Spanish language support would be provide before the end of 2017.
A French Welcome to the Voice Revolution
Regardless of Google’s ambitions elsewhere, the arrival of Google Home and Google Assistant in France is good for the company’s competitive outlook and good for the French people. Let us know what you think of your new French-speaking Google Home at firstname.lastname@example.org.