Google Launches New Investment Program for Google Assistant
This afternoon on its company blog, Google announced it has launched a new investment fund for early-stage startups that can help to improve the Google Assistant. Unlike the Alexa Fund, the investment program doesn’t have a name besides the tagline, “Investing in the Future.” The blog post and the fund’s site also do not provide how much capital Google plans to invest. In addition to investment capital from Google, the startups selected will also have access to ample resources provided by the company according to the blog:
- Advice from Google engineers, product managers, and design experts to share technical guidance and product development feedback.
- Google partnership programs that provide early access to upcoming features and tools so startups can bring their products to market as quickly as possible.
- Access to the Google Cloud Platform, our suite of cloud computing services that run on the same infrastructure that we use for products like Google Search and YouTube.
- Promotional support through Google marketing channels to drive greater awareness for the features and functionality of these new applications.
Investing in the Future of Google Assistant
The new program’s components demonstrate that Google is willing to throw its wallet and weight behind the Google Assistant and the early stage startups that can improve it. The program isn’t limited to voice first software however. Google states that:
“We’re welcoming companies across a diverse range of fields, including startups that are developing technologies that broaden the Assistant’s set of features, or are building new hardware devices for digital assistants, or that focus on a particular industry such as travel, games, or hospitality.”
Google also shared the fortunate first four startups it chose for its fund, which are:
- GoMoment – Creator of Ivy, a 24/7 concierge for hotel guests
- Edwin – A Personal English tutor that prepares students looking to take English as a foreign language tests
- BotSociety – Developed a tool that allows developers to design, prototype and user test voice interfaces
- Pulse Labs – Tools to help develops test their applications with real people
The first four startups chosen are right in line with Google’s ambitions for its Google Assistant. It wants it to be everywhere consumers are, globally dominant and scary smart. By investing in the developers and companies working already to improve the Assistant, Google is signaling again that is all in on voice technology. And is willing to throw millions at it today to improve tomorrow.