Amidst all of the new Google device announcements yesterday, there were also some nuggets for developers. Actions on Google has previously enabled developers to build Assistant apps only in English of the U.S., UK and Australian variants. Google Product Manager Brad Abrams announced in a blog post that developers can now build Actions for Google Assistant in French, German, Japanese and Korean. This also means that third-party Google Assistant apps will be soon available to users. Abrams commented:
Starting this week, you can build apps for the Google Assistant in these new languages and soon, they’ll be available via the Assistant!
A Global Voice Assistant Market Share War
While most of the media attention around voice assistants is U.S.-centric, the big platforms clearly view the market from a global perspective. Amazon was to first to market with Alexa in the U.S., UK, Germany and Austria. Just this week Amazon also announced invitation-only Alexa availability in India and a Japan launch for 2017. However, Google Home has matched Amazon in the U.S., UK and Germany, was first in Australia, Canada and France and will beat Amazon to market in Japan. In addition, Google Assistant is now available in Korea even though the company has not yet announced availability of the Home devices.
It is important to note that device availability is only part of the equation that will draw in consumers. The native voice apps provided by the platforms are essential as are third-party apps by independent developers. When a voice assistant device enters a new market, ask yourself whether the development tools also support the local language. That is a critical element for long-term success and sustainable market share gains.