Google Assistant may soon play videos when asked questions. Although there’s been no official statement by Google, new reports suggest that it’s planning to integrate how-to videos into its voice-controlled digital assistant. According to The Verge, the Mountain View company is expected to unveil Assistant’s new video feature at its upcoming I/O developer conference in May.
The Google Home remains one of the market’s leading smart speakers, with Google selling more than 7.6 million units in Q4 2017 alone. In addition to Android smartphones and tablets, it also features Google Assistant. With Assistant, users can obtain answers to common questions like “What’s the weather?” or “How do I clean hardwood floors?” Currently, Google Assistant provides answers from features snippets in Google’s search results for the respective question, but that may soon change as Google is considering how-to videos as an answer.
The addition of how-to videos would bring a new element to Google Assistant. Normally, Assistant reads text that’s pulled from website listing snippets. Assuming Google adds this feature, however, Assistant may play relevant videos instead. If a user asks Assistant “How do I clean hardwood floors,” it may play a video revealing the steps to cleaning hardwood floors.
So, what benefits would video answers offer to Google Assistant or its users? Some reports suggest that Google’s is planning to monetize its digital assistant with sponsored videos. Google could seek videos from companies featuring their products or services. These videos could still provide users with a useful, relevant answer to the question while also promoting the company’s product or service. With Google acting as the middleman, it would likely charge companies to publish their videos on Assistant.
Furthermore, many users prefer watching how-to videos instead of reading or listening to an article. A video actually shows users how to do something instead of telling them. For certain activities like automotive repairs, this visualization is essential in conveying steps.
On the other hand, how-to videos can only be displayed on Assistant devices with an electronic display. The Home smart speaker doesn’t have a display, so it won’t play videos. But don’t get your hopes up about how-to videos in Google Assistant. Until Google officially announces this feature, it’s only a rumor.