Both Apple and Google are desperately trying to cut into Amazon's domination of the voice assistant market with their own versions of Alexa. Google has slowly made headway with Google Assistant, which now works with a variety of devices and is slowly eating into Amazon's share of the voice assistant market.
It appears as though Google has doubled down on its efforts, with Axios reporting yesterday that the internet search giant has spent almost $60 million to acquire Superpod, an app that allowed users to submit questions and get answers from experts.
The app was created by two former Google employees, Sophia Yang and William Li, in 2016 and functions similar to other Q&A sites like Quora or Yahoo Answers. In September, Yang and Li announced that they were shutting the app down "as part of a transition into a larger project."
"When we first set out on this journey, we did so on the premise that people inherently want to help others. That people aren't as self-obsessed as much as social media would have us believe. And that we could create an organic culture of helpfulness, where you can instantly tap into anyone's experience," they wrote in September.
"Together, we built Superpod into a community where people help others over 6x more than seeking help themselves. In numbers, pods were also *quick* to help -- collectively, our pods of experts answered most new questions within the hour."
In statements to Axios and Fortune, Google confirmed the purchase and said both Yang as well as Li are going to rejoin the company. Superpod's founders hinted that a new deal might be in the works in their message to users before shutting down the app.
"We can't share any details at this time, but we're trekking onwards toward the same north star and are very excited about the future," they wrote at the time. Superpod received significant financial backing from a variety of Silicon Valley investors and a beta version was released more than one year ago with little fanfare.
Market analysis and studies have shown that people overwhelmingly use voice assistants and smart speakers to answer questions, and Google has been able to leverage their position as the internet's de facto search engine to make Google Assistant the go-to place for quick, accurate answers.
A 2017 report found that when put up against Amazon's Alexa, Google Home and Assistant devices were six times as likely to answer questions correctly. Researchers believe this is one of many reasons Amazon is slowly losing traction in the voice assistant market as Google expands its offerings and beefs up its Q&A capabilities.
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- Google has reportedly spent nearly $60 million acquiring Superpod, an app that let users submit questions and get answers from experts.
- Reports suggest Google intends to add the app's functionality to their Google Assistant and Google Home products as they try to limit Amazon's dominance of the voice assistant/smart speaker market.
- Google Assistant app gets design makeover to streamline your day
- Google Assistant for iOS updated with Siri Shortcut for faster access
- Google Assistant comes to third-party Chrome OS laptops in beta update
- At CES 2019, Alexa and Google Assistant will howl. The rest will whimper (CNET)
- Amazon adds new productivity features to Alexa, Alexa for Business (ZDNet)
- Google integrates Tasks app with Gmail and Google Calendar (TechRepublic)