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Alphabet Makes Virtual Assistant Smarter With New Features

Zacks Equity Research

Alphabet Inc. GOOGL is leaving on stone unturned to strengthen its position in the virtual assistant space. The company recently announced a number of upgrades for Google Assistant on smartphones at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019.

The latest upgrades will enable users to check into flights using voice commands, navigate using Google maps and use Assistant from the lock screen among others.

We believe the company’s current endeavors will strengthen its competitive position in the virtual assistant space and expand its revenues in the near term.

Coming to price performance, shares of Google have declined 2.5% over a year compared with the industry’s decline of 25.2%.

Brief Overview of the Upgrades

The new upgrade paves the way for the integration of Assistant into Google Maps, thereby aiding users in navigation. Moreover, it will also enable them to share estimated time of arrival (ETA) or send messages using third-party apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Hangouts among others.

Notably, Google’s feature upgrade is expected to give it an edge over Amazon, which aims to deploy Alexa in cars this year.

Google also brings Assistant to the lock screen for the first time, where the users can get responses for their personal queries, search for nearby restaurants, set and dismiss alarms, and schedule reminders without unlocking their phones.

Assistant will also help users to check into flights, get boarding passes and even book hotels through their partners including Priceline, Expedia, and Choice Hotels among others. However, this update is available on in the United States for now.

Integration with Third Parties to Aid Growth

Google announced the introduction of Google Assistant Connect to smart displays, which is aimed at expanding the company’s digital assistant in different devices. Notably, just like Alexa, users can get information from Assistant, play music, find recipes, go through Google photos, video call and manage daily calendar among others.

The company has already integrated with various device manufacturers to integrate Assistant into their products. These include Lenovo, JBL, Sonos speakers and Sony among others.

Notably, per Gartner, 3.3% of global households are expected to adopt a VPA-enabled wireless speaker by 2020. Given such encouraging predictions for the home assistant market, Google’s integration with third parties is expected to add to its top-line figures in the near term.

Alphabet Inc. Price and Consensus

Alphabet Inc. Price and Consensus | Alphabet Inc. Quote

Intensifying Competition

Per data from Research and Markets, the global market for intelligent virtual assistant is expected to witness CAGR of 32% between 2018 and 2023 and exceed $9 billion by the said time frame.

The vast growth opportunity in this segment is attracting other tech companies like Apple AAPL, Microsoft MSFT, Samsung and Amazon AMZN.

Notably, all these companies are trying to bolster their presence in the world of virtual assistants and smart speakers driven by artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques.

Currently, Alphabet carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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