Google had a number of announcements yesterday that significantly expanded the company’s voice assistant product portfolio. The low-priced Google Home Mini, the high-priced Google Home Max, the Pixel smartphone and the Pixelbud wireless earbuds all have the potential to make Google Assistant a bigger part of consumers’ lives. However, the future of Google Assistant will be determined more by third-party voice apps than by hardware. This is an area where Google has made steady progress, but the developer community hasn’t moved as quickly for Google Assistant as it did for the Amazon Alexa ecosystem.
Google Assistant Apps Climb to 724
Google Assistant voice apps now total 724, a 27% increase from the 568 total Voicebot reported almost two months ago. The August total represented a 21% increase over ten days which is not far below the growth from the past two months. However, we pointed out at the time that a significant amount of the previous growth was derived from Google adding its Home Control apps to the Google Assistant “Discovery List.” As you can see, Home Control is still one of the top three categories but now Education and Reference has replaced it in the number two spot.
Shopping and Productivity Voice App Categories Increase Significantly
Home Control remains number three, but those apps indicate that more manufacturers are partnering with Google Assistant, not that developers are specifically creating voice apps for it. Education and Reference taking the number two spot is noteworthy as it indicates that more custom Google Assistant apps are now available. This is also true for Productivity apps, which grew 63% since August.
It should be no surprise that Assistant apps in the shopping category more than doubled, from 10 to 22. Google has made voice shopping a priority in recent months. In late August, after our previous count, the company announced it would no longer charge a $10 monthly fee to have access to its delivery service, Google Express. At the same time, Google also announced a partnership with Walmart, which would allow consumers to order directly from the retail giant using Google Express and on Google Assistant and Home with voice commands. While the total number of Google Assistant apps is still a fraction of the number of Alexa skills, the category totals do show that Google’s priorities seem to be adding more custom voice apps and getting more consumers to shop by voice. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these are the same two areas in which Amazon’s Alexa excels.