With Google Assistant expanding from the Home and Pixel devices to Android Wear, Android Phones running 6.0 and up and soon to Android Auto and Android TV (takes breath), it seems the platform is ready to live outside Google’s or Android’s hardware. Today, with the announcement of the Google Assistant SDK developers, OEMs and makers can start to include Assistant into their own hardware.
Out of the box, the SDK is configured to seamlessly work with a Raspberry Pi 3 with a Python interface for rapid prototyping. With the included gRPC interface, however, you can integrate Assistant into almost any hardware platform that meets the minimum specs.
While there’s nothing to “show off” just yet, with the SDK now officially in the wild we should well see more and more devices announced if not shipping with inbuilt Google Assistant functionality. With Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service (AVS) already being in the wild, and Amazon recently releasing their microphone array hardware for use with AVS, it will be interesting to see how hardware makers adopt these voice platforms.
With Alexa having the very US and UK-centric approach (for now), Google technically has the advantage of Assistant already having been localised to more markets, even if Google Home is officially available in those markets Assistant or Pixel is. Personally, I’d be happy with both services being built into devices, but I suspect deep within some terms and conditions of one of the two vendors is something prohibiting that, let’s hope this isn’t the beginning of another platform lock-in like messaging all over again.
If you want to get a feel for what Google has dreamed up for the new platform check out their robo drink mixer.