Nearly two years after Amazon first released the Echo, Google is finally set to release its own product, Google Home.
The product will listen to users and offer answers conversationally using what Google refers to as the Assistant. The new artificial intelligence was rolled out a new messaging app in September and will soon be added to Google's smartphones and tablets. Google has plenty of time to close the gap with Amazon, considering they're the only two companies with AI-powered home assistants on the market, but the market perception still stings.
In an article for the New York Times, Daisuke Wakabayashi and Nick Wingfield find the reason might be that Google is just too big for its own good, operating on old structures that don't feed into the new tech-native start-up world it's now in.
“Amazon is the accidental winner here,” said Scott Galloway, a professor of marketing at the Stern School of Business at New York University. “Amazon got there first, which is superimpressive, and it has been a huge hit.”
Google is a leader in natural language processing — the ability to turn spoken words into terms that computers can digest — and its search engine is the starting point for how most people get answers on the internet. In fact, the company says 20 percent of Google searches on mobile phones are done by voice.
So why didn’t Google create an Echo-like device before Amazon?
In part, Google was hindered by a balkanized structure that prevented different groups within the company from working together, according to four current and former employees.