The battle for voice supremacy rages on, with the latest salvo coming from Google. The internet giant announced this week that it is boosting its Google Assistant capabilities with an audio news feed. The idea is to take the artificial intelligence (AI) the company has baked into the Google News feed for the personalization of storylines, and pair it with the voice capabilities of Google Assistant
“This new experience will bring you an audio news playlist assembled in that moment, for you,” says Liz Gannes, product manager for Google News. “It starts with a briefing of top stories and updates on topics you care about, and extends into longer-form content that dives deeper into more stories.”
Users then get a radio news experience, but on-demand and more finely tuned to their interests. They’re also able to use their voice to control how stories are told, with features to ask it to skip a story, go back, or stop.
Google teamed up initially with twenty major news partners to roll out the program, including CNBC, New York Times, and USA Today, but expect more sources forthcoming. The audio feature was built with an open specification so that other media organizations can easily participate.
This latest announcement offers another piece of evidence to show how voice assistants and conversational user interfaces have taken off in a big way this year. Experts believe we’ll see the applications of voice-enabled technologies to continue to diversify and strengthen in the next few years. According to comScore, by 2020 half of all searches will be voice searches. Other estimates state that voice shopping will increase 20-fold by 2022, becoming a $40 billion market. Analysts with Juniper also predict that in that same time voice-based ad revenue will reach $19 billion. The rapid pace of growth has voice poised as one of the top disruptive forces in adtech today.