Voice App ‘100 Years Ago’ Wins Actions on Google Developer Challenge

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Google has posted the winners of its Actions on Google Developer Challenge first announced at Google I/O developer conference in May 2017. The top spot went to the Google Assistant App 100 Years Ago. The announcement states:

First place goes to 100 Years Ago, an app that travels back in time 100 years and lets you listen to an interactive radio show, including breaking news and the latest hit songs circa 1917. The winner will receive a trip to our Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA, a trip to Google I/O 2018, and $10,000!

Second place goes to Credit Card Helper, which helps users find the best credit cards quickly and avoid traps. The winner will receive $7,500 and a Google Home!

Third place goes to Planet Quiz, a fun and educational game that lets you learn more about the Solar System. The winner will enjoy $5,000 and a Google Home.

Great Use of Historical Content

Jesse Vig. Developer of 100 Years Ago.

The 100 Years Ago Google Assistant app makes great use of historical content. It also provides an easy method for ensuring you always have new content to provide the audience. The news is interesting as is having access to the music since both news and music reflect time periods and create a greater sense of cultural understanding. There is also the opportunity to speak with the featured guest of the time period. It happens to be Sigmund Freud and it is very amusing and frustrating to interact with as I suspect it was with the real-life version.

100 Years Ago was created by independent developer Jesse Vig. Mr. Vig is a researcher at PARC by day and voice app developer in his spare time. He has previously developed the Time Machine Google Assistant app and Alexa skill. In that voice app, headlines from the day in history are read so there is a recurring theme here about news and history. In an email interview with Voicebot Mr. Vig commented:

I’m generally interested in artificial intelligence and interaction design, and voice apps combine elements of both. The technology for voice apps has just recently matured to the point where it’s possible to create compelling user experiences…I’ve been working on conversational A.I. in my research, but for different types of applications. Radio was the original platform for pure audio experiences. I wanted to take that rich audio experience and make it interactive [in the 100 Years Ago Google Assistant app].

Several Entries Were Recognized in Multiple Categories

Several entries were recognized in multiple categories. 100 Years Ago won the top overall prize as well as the Best Easter Egg and Best Sound Effects categories. Those wins added another $3,000 to the rewards accumulated by app developer Jesse Vig. Credit Card Helper won second place and also succeeded in three other categories: Best Life Hack, Best Dialogflow app, Best Dashbot Powered app. That means total winnings for the app developer Starbuttter were $22,500.

TRT World also won in two categories for its TRT World quiz. TRT World executive Derrick Fountain says that a student intern developed the original app which helped it qualify for the Best App by Student Category. It also was one of three winners in the Best Persona category. The quiz persona is entirely recorded audio and has high production value similar to Google’s Lucky Trivia app. Chat with Sigmund also won in the Person category and added a win for the Most Adaptive App.

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