Weekly Digest: End of Google Home, Beginning of Voice-Powered Google Assistant Payments
This week in Conversational AI
Microsoft patent hints there might be a Surface-branded smart speaker coming
A Microsoft patent that surfaced recently shows that the tech giant may be working on its own smart speaker. This is particularly surprising in the lieu of Microsoft’s efforts to make its Cortana voice assistant part of its enterprise offering. In this patent for Smart Speaker System with Microphone Room Calibration, we see a standard smart speaker, featuring internet access, Bluetooth, and six microphones connecting to a built-in voice assistant along with the audio playing hardware. Find out more here.
Amazon’s Alexa now offers ‘Thought of the Day’ from Marshmello and Halsey Team
More celebrities choose Alexa as a way to reach their fanbase. So, voice assistants’ customers can say “Alexa, what’s Halsey’s thought of the day?” and “Alexa, what’s Marshmello’s thought of the day?” and get a glimpse into the random musings from both artists. Marshmello shares his thoughts on pretty much everything while Halsey muses on topics like learning to waltz and penguin courtship rituals. Find out more here.
Google Store no longer offers the original Google Home
Last week, Android Police has discovered that Google Home is “no longer available” in the company’s US and Japan Stores. At the same time, Canada’s store offers visitors to “join the waiting list.” Later, Google started offering free Nest Mini smart speakers to YouTube Premium, YouTube Music Premium, and Google Play Music subscribers in the U.S. While rumor has it, there is a successor underway, we have to wait and see. Find out more here.
Google is testing voice payments with Google Assistant
No matter what future holds for Google Home devices, Google is testing a new Voice Match feature for secure purchases made through its voice assistant. A company’s spokesperson confirmed to Android Police that “the functionality is new, and is designed to help secure purchases made on smart speakers and smart displays.” Currently, it only works for in-app digital purchases through Google Play and restaurant orders. Find out more here.