Google’s Pixel Event heavily focused on hardware. They announced Pixel (the first phone designed by Google), an updated Chromecast supporting 4K UHD video, Google Home, and more. What do all of these devices have in common? Google Assistant. So, where there’s new hardware, there’s new APIs – and that means new opportunities for brands.
What is Google Assistant?
Google Assistant is an effort to create a single point of interaction for search, third party services, mobile apps, and web and is the enhanced replacement of what was Google Now. Google Assistant will get to know users personally and help coordinate their day, provide information when needed, and take action. Google’s advances in artificial intelligence (AI), speech recognition, and understanding of conversational language combine to create a powerful service that will be integrated into the new Pixel phone, Google’s suite of connected devices, applications, future Android phones, and there will likely be an iOS app for it as well.
How will users interact with Google Assistant?
Google Home is a new device powered by Assistant that can control a number of other devices, such as Chromecast, making Assistant connection between mobile and at-home moments. It also integrates with IFTTT, Nest, Phillips Hue, and more. Google Home could allow users to make reservations at a restaurant and then turn their lights off on the way out the door. It could help book travel, make hotel reservations, and request a ride through Uber when it’s time to go. This requires development effort to make the magic happen, but the benefit of a satisfying engagement with a user before even installing the app is invaluable – it creates loyalty in the first interaction.
What would a brand need to leverage Assistant?
This functionality is currently available, to an extent, in apps that have deep-linking support, but that’s not all you need. AI, whether Google’s or a competitor’s, is still in its infancy. That being said, many early interactions with Assistant will be similar to an AI assisted Google search. This means SEO and proper site structure are and will be crucial elements of discoverability. If your website is optimized for search, leverages structured data types, and deep-linking support for your app, you’re already fairly prepared.
In early December, Google will launch the Action API. This will allow for “scripted” interactions with Assistant in and outside of an app. Developers like Bottle Rocket can help brands leverage the Action API to develop strategy and server-to-server configurations so that speaking to Assistant can perform deeper actions like booking travel, reserving a hotel room, buying movie tickets, or ordering food. While it has not been released yet, forward-thinking brands will start planning these interactions today.
But why should a brand optimize for Assistant?
It’s about owning a moment in a user’s life. You have to surface during a search, fulfill a need, and then, when your foot is in the door, establish a real connection. You must design intentional serendipity – moments that feel organic, but have been carefully planned to position your brand’s app as the perfect solution to a very particular problem in just the right moment.
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Future-focused brands will begin to work with these technologies – voice controlled products with smart assistants, IoT devices, chatbots, and apps that work seamlessly with the internet – to prepare for a time when users will not seek you out at all. You’ll be expected to come to them, specifically when you’re needed. AI First companies like Google will rely on what it knows about you, your products and services, and your relevance to an immediate need. SEO will be critical, but SEO will not be able to make up for a poorly executed experience – especially since usability and UX are now factors in Google’s search ranking.
Bottle Rocket is prepared to help our clients thrive in an ecosystem driven by relevance and guided with AI. Contact us today to see how your brand can benefit from Google’s latest offerings and how you can prepare for Assistant.
Interested in how it works? Let Luke tell you the rest. Get your copy of “You Should be Using Google Assistant Apps” below.