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In the Battle Between Amazon and Google, It's Not the Hardware That Will Win the Game

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How can Amazon Echo win over Google in the long run given Google's AI superiority? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Nikhil Dandekar, Engineering Manager at Quora, on Quora:

The one way Amazon can win over Google in this space is by partnering better with device manufacturers.

To start off, I don't think the battle between Amazon Echo and Google Home is as important as the one between Amazon Alexa, which is their voice assistance service, and the Google (Voice) Assistant.

Both Amazon Echo and Google Home are speakers with voice assistance built into them. The speakers are fairly standard, as speakers go. The real magic happens in the voice assistants that sit in the cloud and do the heavy lifting on behalf of these devices.

You can expect that, in the future, most of the devices you own will have voice assistance built into them. Your car, your glasses, your TV, your microwave, your smartwatch, your airpods, all will let you connect to a voice assistant in the cloud that answers your questions and does things for you.

Given this future, the company that can partner better with the various car, glasses, TV, microwave and smartwatch manufacturers will be the one with the bigger market share. Google might have a better AI, but if they can't get their voice assistant supporting all these other non-Google, non-Android devices, they will be relegated to exist only on Google devices, thus being a small part of the total market share.

Historically, Amazon has been better at this game than Google. The battle between AWS and the Google Cloud Platform is a great example of this. When it started, Google had the better data center technology (it probably does even now) and was better placed to be the dominant cloud infrastructure provider. However, Amazon was better able to identify the opportunities, and partner with companies, big and small, and now we are in the world where AWS is completely dominating this space over Google Cloud, in spite of having the (arguably) inferior product.

This "tax on the internet" [1] [2] model that Amazon so brilliantly operates on, is perfectly applicable in this voice assistant battle too. So in the long term, it's quite possible that even if Google builds the smarter product, Amazon will win with a greater market share.


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