Google shows off its Artificial Intelligence chops at I/O 2016

Google’s annual I/O event took place last week and it’s pretty clear from some of the most high profile announcements how seriously the company is taking Artificial Intelligence as a platform moving forward. One hardly surprising reveal was the launch of a home AI assistant similar to Amazon’s Echo, imaginatively named ‘Google Home‘. The Echo has been a bit of a sleeper success since it hit shelves in selected markets last Summer and it isn’t much of a shock that Google wants to get in on the action too. It’s not scheduled to ship until the end of the year but it looks like the concept in general is meeting with consumer approval at least.

While Amazon and Google are making headway in this space, you’d imagine that Apple (much more of an actually established hardware manufacturer than the other two) might be waiting in the wings, ready to launch something similar. But as pointed out by Marco Arment, this type of device, despite being a tactile consumer tech product, is much less about the hardware, and much more about the software platform behind it. If an AI voice-controlled interface takes over from a 5 inch smartphone screen as the preferred input method at some time in the future, Apple could be truly blindsided. I’m sure they could use some of their $137 Billion war chest to acquire a suitable AI platform though so I doubt Tim Cook is losing any sleep over it.

Another AI-based product that was showcased was a new messaging app called “Allo” that suggests responses to questions. The potential here is not so much as a standalone app, but for integrating predictive search and suggestions into messaging in general.