Originally at https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/05/18/artificial-intelligence-the-star-of-google-io/

Google I/O was full of announcements about upcoming products and enhancements. The most notable, such as Google Assistant and Google Home, revolved around AI.

We’re in a seminal moment, said Google chief executive (CEO) Sundar Pichai kicking off the company’s annual I/O Conference in San Francisco.

Looking back at the past 17(?!) years, Pichai discussed Google’s evolution to the live audience of 7,000. As technology gets more sophisticated, he sees artificial intelligence (AI) playing a huge role in the company’s next 17 years.

“Leveraging our state-of-the-art capabilities in machine learning and AI, we truly want to take the next step in being more assistive to our user. Today, we are announcing the Google Assistant,” said Pichai, one of the only people in the world who’s allowed to use the “L” word on Search Engine Watch. “We think of it as building each user their own individual Google.”

Right now, 20% of Google searches are queried by voice. Google Assistant is the next step in that, combining voice search with the rest of Google’s AI capabilities. For example, if you were standing in front of that giant bean in Chicago, you could ask, “Who designed this?” without any mention of where you are; Google already knows.

What separates Google Assistant from other digital assistants is its various integrations, including Uber, Fandango and OpenTable. While Siri can tell you what time The Jungle Book is playing, you can’t actually purchase tickets through her.


Another new product is Google Home, the search giant’s answer to the Amazon Echo. Like Alexa, Google Home – which is customizable with different fabrics, materials…

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