On the face of it, today’s big Google event in San Francisco was all about hardware, but let’s be real here – there’s always something bigger going on with Google below the shiny glass and metal exterior.
Much of the event was devoted to the company’s play for the smart home – a direct shot Amazon’s Echo/Alexa offerings, and to a lesser extent (for now, at least), Apple Home. From a hardware perspective, the company will be taking that first step forward via its simply named Google Home device.
The real secret sauce, however is Google Assistant, the Alexa/Siri-like AI offering at the heart of most of the product announced today, Pixel included. And much like Alexa, the company is set to open its smart helper to third-parties. The company’s answer to Amazon’s Skills is the ironically passively named Actions on Google.
The program will open Assistant’s SDK to developers starting this December. With it, devs will be able to create two kinds of actions – Direct and Conversation. The former entails simple requests like home automation, while the latter is more of a back and forth interaction utilizing API.ai.
The open system will also make it possible to utilize Assistant on third-party hardware, from home-brewed devices to large-scale consumer electronics. Interested parties can sign up for the service and updates through Google starting today.