Last Friday, we reviewed how increased pressure from Wall Street is likely to prompt Google to find new revenue sources. Yesterday, we looked at the possibility (in our mind, inevitability) that they would begin charging for additional features on Google My Business.
Today, we’re here to confirm that Google has begun experimenting with monetizing Google Home and Google Assistant, two voice activated products the company offers.
Google Home is a set of voice and web controlled products to allow you to control lights, television, and music from either voice commands or an application. Google Assistant is a voice commanded personal assistant you can use to control these devices, search the web, or interact with other Google services. Combined with the acquisition of Nest, maker of internet connected security cameras and alarm systems which now are integrating Google Assistant, Google Home and Google Assistant offer a wide product set for people looking to make their home “smart”.
To date, most of Google’s efforts have been in solidifying product offerings to compete with Amazon’s Alexa and Ring products, Apple’s Siri, and a range of smart home devices offered by companies like Honeywell. The battle has been about market share.
That might be changing in four ways.
First, in February, Google started testing ads in Google Assistant results on smartphones. Then in April, Google officially announced that ads would be included in Google Assistant results where ads would be relevant. So far, there are fewer ads in Google Assistant results than the standard search engine.
Second, Google has decided to give Google Home smart speaker owners access to YouTube Music, which is supported by ad revenue. To remove the adds, users can subscribe to the premium version for $9.99 a month.
Third, Google is beginning to show local listings in response to searches for local providers on Google Home and Google Assistant. Yesterday, we discussed how Google might begin charging a subscription for local listings.
Fourth, and of most interest to us, is through payments. Though Google Express has proven to be unpopular, users can currently send and request money through Google Pay using their Google Assistant. Currently Google doesn’t charge a transaction fee for this service, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see that change.