Google Conquers CES With Ubiquitous Marketing For Its Voice Assistant

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LAS VEGAS - At the massive CES consumer electronics show this week, Google was practically everywhere, promoting its Google Assistant voice-response technology and other initiatives, a stark contrast to last year's conference when rival Amazon ( AMZN ) cunningly took over the trade show with its Alexa voice assistant and Google was largely absent.

[ibd-display-video id=3077575 width=50 float=left autostart=true] When considering winners and losers at CES 2018, Alphabet 's ( GOOGL ) Google is a clear winner at the four-day show, which ended Friday. It received positive brand exposure for its "Hey Google" messaging, which is the voice-activation prompt for Google Home smart speakers and other devices. Google wrapped Las Vegas Monorail trains in "Hey Google" advertising, bought large display ads outside the Las Vegas Convention Center and purchased big video screen ads on the Strip and near the convention center.

Google also set up a couple of giant gumball machines where CES attendees could ask the Google Assistant spoken questions and win prizes ranging from "Hey Google" winter caps and tote bags to Google Nest security cameras and Google Home Mini smart speakers. Google also had a large whimsical Google Assistant Playground where it provided tours and briefings on the company's hardware and software offerings. These exhibits were staffed with dozens of bubbly Google representatives dressed in white jumpsuits.

Amazon had a lesser presence at the show, but seemed to match Google on the number of partnership announcements for getting voice controls into third-party products.

Meanwhile, Apple ( AAPL ) was a no-show at CES again and missed an opportunity to be part of the conversation about voice assistants and the smart home with its Siri and HomeKit efforts.

The biggest themes of this year's CES were artificial intelligence and the smart or connected home. All the major consumer electronics companies talked up their efforts to add AI to their devices so they are more predictive and helpful for their owners. Smart home discussions centered around voice-command interfaces and individual devices such as security cameras, lighting and thermostats.

Another big topic at CES was the rise of augmented-reality glasses. AR headset maker Vuzix ( VUZI ) earned plaudits from tech reviewers for its Vuzix Blade Smart Glasses. For instance, U.K.-based consumer technology news and review site TechRadar named the Vuzix Blade glasses the Best AR on Show at CES 2018.

The Blade glasses feature Amazon Alexa voice controls, so users can ask to play music, hear and display news or weather and more. AR glasses overlay digital information onto a wearer's field of vision.

CES 2018: See The Latest Technology Trends & Top Tech Stocks

Internet television network Netflix ( NFLX ) generated a lot of buzz for a booth it sponsored in the Augmented Reality Marketplace at CES. The booth supposedly was for a company called Psychasec, but was really a marketing stunt for Netflix's upcoming science-fiction TV series "Altered Carbon."

The Comic-Con style booth featured actors who discussed technology to achieve immortality. The company told visitors it would sell lab-grown human bodies called "sleeves" into which you could upload your memories and consciousness. At the end of each tour, the exhibit was revealed to be a promotion for the Netflix show.

One of the big losers at CES 2018 was action-camera maker GoPro (GPRO), which on Monday preannounced weak holiday-quarter sales and said it is exiting the drone business. Observers noted how quiet GoPro's booth at CES was this year as the company's downbeat news cast a pall over the company's exhibit area.


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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Stocks
Referenced Symbols: AMZN , GOOGL , AAPL , VUZI , NFLX

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