Within the past hour, I received a note from Google with the subject “Start to earn money with your Actions”. It’s promoting to developers the ability to run transactions through Google Assistant. Digital products can now be subscribed to through Assistant using Google Play / Pay. This reminds me a bit of Voice Actions and SiriKit in that it hooks voice capabilities to actions on the app.
However, except for items that were already purchased outside of the voice realm, I’m still wondering about voice commerce. Amazon might have it nailed with Dash buttons for things like paper towels and other consumable items that are purchased frequently. “Alexa, re-order ice tea” makes perfect sense and it’s easy.
The voice / scan device Hiku was great for this too.
Google provides an example of ordering a Starbucks coffee via Google Assistant on Google Home. For a coffee aficionado, this is offensive. Coffee should be consumed within minutes of brewing or and the delay of getting from the Google Home to the Starbucks would turn the drink into mud water.
Longer multiple turn transactions make less sense by voice. Anything that requires a weighing of the pros and cons of features or is beyond a utilitarian item might need some analysis that voice alone isn’t suitable for. That said, combining voice with visual feedback (and touch for scrolling) could be great.
“OK Google, show me paper towels… OK, order the one on the top right… yes”
Despite four years with the Echo (and six with the Ubi), we’re still early into voice and figuring out how to monetize might take another five years.