Google Positions Assistant At the Top of Its Hardware Pyramid

John Scumniotales of Amazon Alexa Automotive at Toyota's CES booth on Tuesday.                  Ben Fox Rubin  CNET

Google's Assistant also wasn't too far behind Alexa, with the company launching a range of new smart displays and other devices powered by the Assistant.

Google doesn't intend to manufacture these smart displays themselves though. It's not about keeping them in the guarded realms of their own product lines. Why can't it be, for instance, your Google Home Mini conveying your instructions from a more distant place? While we long anticipated Google to answer the challenge presented by Amazon's Echo Show and its touchscreen smart speaker and home hub, we didn't think the company would rely on hardware from third parties. "It's been important that Alexa has opinions", Whitten said.

And there could be trouble ahead for Amazon, he adds, when it attempts to take Alexa to markets beyond the USA and Europe. This is a huge boost for Amazon, even if it makes things a little awkward with Microsoft's Cortana.

'Voice services are rapidly becoming more popular and through our integration with Amazon Alexa, Toyota and Lexus customers will soon be able to easily speak to Alexa in their cars while on-the-go, ' said Hicks. For example, in October, speaker manufacturer Sonos announced a smart device that controls music playback on Alexa.

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This week set up what will be an ongoing theme for 2018; how companies package their voice assistants into new products, with the ultimate aim of having we, the consumer, use them. If you can do it with a smart speaker, then you can do it with these.

This company isn't new to making smart glasses, but the product it plans to unveil at CES 2018 could change the game. The smart display also includes Google Cast support for multiroom audio, as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity and IPX4 splash proof protection so you can take the display to the pool. They make it easy to watch YouTube videos, enjoy personal photos, follow recipes, control smart home devices and more. Whether that means it will have its own AI assistant and system inside remains to be seen.

As CES gets underway, Amazon and Google are likely to turn up the volume on their respective business deals with electronics makers in a bid to control voice-based user interfaces.

"We have over one million actions available to users that [they] can now look up", a Google spokesman told the BBC. And we bet you'll find a few gems you never knew the Assistant could do.

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