Major League Baseball and Satisfi Labs Launch Google Assistant Voice Apps for 15 MLB Teams
This year’s baseball season has been cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, but Google Assistant is happy to discuss in detail 15 Major League Baseball teams to help fans missing the sport. The new feature expands the partnership between the MLB and conversational artificial intelligence startup Satisfi Labs, who worked with the league to launch similar interactions for Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant last year.
Asking Google Assistant to talk to the Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins, Oakland Athletics, or any of the other teams will start a conversation using the information provided by the team and accessed through Satisfi Labs’ Interactive Search Engines. The voice assistant can talk about statistics, schedules, team history, and the score of a game happening at that moment, among other topics. Any smart speaker or display using Google Assistant can use the feature, as can Android smartphones. Last year, Satisfi and the MLB debuted new abilities for Alexa around the World Series. The voice assistant augmented game highlights with statistics and even predictions about the game. Though the timing was coincidental, it was around then that Satisfi joined the Google Assistant Investment portfolio and began working more closely with Google.
“Voice is the future of communication, and we believe expanding to Google Assistant will allow fans of all ages to access us on their terms,” Oakland Athletics vice president Steve Fanelli said in a statement. “As we embark on this new season, what better way to build connections with the at-home fan than with a personal, voice experience.”
The competition by voice assistants for sports content has been slowed down this year, but it could become very competitive soon. Alexa has already beaten Google to the punch in providing voice apps in other sports. For instance, Real Madrid picked Alexa for its first voice skill and it hosts the official voice skill of New Zealand’s All Blacks rugby team. In the U.S., the NBA has set up Alexa Skills for all of its teams, and there are official Alexa Skills from the NFL and NHL, not to mention Amazon’s exclusive rights to broadcast the US Open whenever it returns. Google has its own sports strategy, relying on its search engine to help bring new information to the voice assistant as it did during the ICC Cricket World Cup.
Satisfi Labs powers the AI for a wide range of events and venues, including Broadway shows and zoos, in addition to baseball. The startup has been working with clients during the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis to help them keep customers informed about their status. Extending the partnership with MLB, which is also an investor in Satisfi, points to where the startup may develop its focus as and when sports and other events begin again. The startup’s platform is flexible enough to work with any voice assistant, but there’s no question that integrating with Google Assistant will open up a lot of opportunities to find new clients.
“In this adapting sports season, we’re looking forward to providing each team with a new way to engage with fans at home,” Satisfi Labs CEO Don White said. “As Google Assistant is available on one billion devices around the world, we’re especially thrilled to be part of Google’s voice-ecosystem, which will allow teams to more easily connect with a global baseball fanbase.”