Verizon Fios is going to integrate Google Assistant into its television service. Verizon product marketing lead for home and 5G Lance Koenders announced the plan on Modev’s VOICE Talks Presented by Google Assistant live stream on Thursday, during a conversation with Google smart home ecosystem senior director Michelle Chambers Turner.
Fios came out with a voice remote back in 2018. That’s the same year Fios started offering a connection with Amazon Alexa, allowing control of the TV through an Alexa device or with its native voice search function. Now, Fios set-top box owners can use Google Assistant instead. Koenders didn’t dive into too many of the details of what Google Assistant will be able to do with Fios, but he showed a short commercial demonstrating search functions by show or movie name, channel, and by genre. As to why the long gap between Alexa and Google Assistant functions or the reason for the change, Koenders hinted that the ongoing pandemic and necessary uptick in indoor time might be part of the motivation.
“We’ve been spending a lot of time home nowadays and as you can imagine our consumers are doing so as well and they’re spending time not just watching content but they’re also spending a lot of time kind of exploring and innovating with their home technology,” Koenders said in explaining the addition of Google Assistant. “It will allow consumers to control their TV through voice doing things like finding the programs they love and tuning to the channels they want.”
Google Assistant won’t just be for the newest Fios boxes, either. The voice assistant will be compatible with most Fios products, so those Fios customers who haven’t bought a new device in a while can still ask the voice assistant to search or play the content they watch.
“We still have a lot of old set-top boxes out there in people’s homes,” Koenders said. . This allows us to bring that functionality to older hardware, we don’t have to upgrade them to the latest stuff
Google Assistant is well-established with other TV brands and services. The DISH network added the voice assistant back in 2018, while Samsung smart TVs gained Google Assistant as an option alongside Bixby this past October. Verizon Fios won’t just leave things as they are with Google Assistant either. Koenders said more and deeper connections are in the works.
“What we’re going to see is assistants like Google Assistant integrated directly into the set-tops,” Koenders said. “We do believe we will see that happening in the not-too-distant future.”
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