Google Assistant Actions Total 4,253 in January 2019, Up 2.5x in Past Year but 7.5% the Total Number Alexa Skills in U.S.
- Google Actions in January 2019 reached 4,253, reflecting a 2.5 times growth over the past year
- Total Google Actions in January developed by third-parties available to U.S. user were about 7.5% of the total Alexa skills for the same user base
- The way Google lists Actions shows duplicates in many categories which requires manual deduplication to determine a unique count
The number of Google Assistant Actions rose about 2.5 times last year compared to 2.2 times growth for Amazon Alexa skills. However, the Google Action growth was off of a much smaller base. As of January 2019, there were 4,253 official Google Actions in the U.S. which was about 7.5% of the 56,750 Alexa skills. The Google Action figure is up from 1,719 in January 2018. Voicebot first started tracking Google Action counts in April 2017 when there were only 165. Note that Amazon recently revealed there are 80,000 Alexa skills worldwide. However, the number of skills available to U.S. users is under 60,000 even today and that is a more appropriate comparison to the Google Action data presented below.
Education, Games, and Family Most Popular Categories
Three of the 18 categories account for over one-third of all Google Actions listed. The Education and reference category tops the list with just over 15% of all listed Actions, while Games and Fun along with Kids and Family account for 11% and 9% respectively. The least popular? Local and weather. Weather makes sense given that it is a narrow topic and it is also one of the smallest categories for Alexa skills. Local is not at all narrow, but likely reflects the fact that few smaller organizations have come to Google Assistant at this point.
The biggest Alexa skill category in the U.S. by a large margin is Games & Trivia with over 21% of all skills. Second position goes to education and reference at about 14%. Google Actions reverses this order and is not as heavily weighted towards games as Alexa. The over-indexing for games likely reflects Amazon’s frequent promotion of that category, including offering developers cash rewards for producing popular skills.
Google Action and Amazon Alexa Skill Totals are Obscured by Presentation and Duplication
The reason you don’t see too many people analyzing Google Actions and Alexa skills in total or by category is the result of the way the companies present the voice apps obscures capturing an accurate count without tedious manual efforts. For example, adding all Alexa skills in the U.S. by category today gives you a total of 67,659. However, the number of unique Alexa skills in the U.S. is just 58,595. That means 15.5% of Alexa skills are duplicated across categories. Google Actions show duplicates even more frequently. Adding up all Google Actions by category in January 2019 yielded a count of 7,596. When you remove duplicates the total is 4,253 which indicates that 44% are duplicate listings. Some Actions are listed in as many as a half-dozen categories or subcategories.
Does Google Action Count Matter?
It is clear that the number of Google Actions is growing and that it is far less than total Alexa skills. An obvious question is whether it matters. If Amazon has a lot more skills but most are never used, the difference may be inconsequential. However, there is little evidence to suggest that Amazon has more lightly used skills than Google has lightly used Actions. What the Action and skill counts indicate today is developer participation in the platforms. Right now, the edge goes to Amazon. That edge was partially due to a two-year head start, but not entirely. About 26-months after Amazon Echo and Alexa was launched, Amazon had 5,191 skills developed by third-parties. Twenty-six months after Google Home and Assistant launched, Google has 4,253 Actions. This suggests that Google is lagging by about 22% for a comparable time period. With that said, competition is about today and few consumers will give Google a pass simply because it was late to market.
If we use the skill and Action counts as a proxy for developer commitment, then the data does matter. We know that once companies are invested in a platform they are more likely to continue to invest in it. So, it is worthwhile to track Google Action counts simply as a gauge of third-party commitment. Content matters. Today you may be able to do “a million things with Assistant” as Google is fond of saying. However, much of that is driven by Google services. The next year will be telling in terms of how many things users can do courtesy of Google partners committed to Assistant as a platform.