CES usually isn’t the biggest of deals for the Google world, but for 2018, Google had a bigger presence than almost anyone else at the show. Left and right there were Google Assistant representatives, and the highlight of CES was the company’s outdoor booth. Once it was cleaned up from the rain, we got a chance to check it out in person, and it was basically the most Googley thing ever.
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Assistant was clearly Google’s focus at CES, and that showed both at the booth and throughout the show floor. Assistant was everywhere at CES 2018, and the company’s booth featured a massive room absolutely full of devices compatible with the service.
While I, unfortunately, didn’t get to check out everything in Google’s booth, I did get to hit the highlights. On the ground floor, there were two primary attractions. First, that room filled to the brim with Assistant-compatible hardware.
As soon as you walked in, smart displays were front and center, with speakers, phones, watches, TVs, and Google’s own hardware all over. In between, there were Assistant-compatible devices left and right, including power strips, speakers, light bulbs, fans, fridges, and much more.
Some of the coolest things in the booth, to me at least, were the development kits showing off the hardware that powers smart displays and smart speakers.
Dead center in the room, there was a “tiny city” with cars, trains, and miniature people all in a town filled with various Assistant-related items. There were some displays “advertising” the Assistant, and some logos from partners. It was a little pointless if you ask me, but fantastic at the same time.
Moving out of the Assistant “Gallery,” Google had also set up one of its pop-up “Donut Shops” to showcase the Home Mini. After waiting in line, I was able to head into the shop and walk up to the counter to let Home Mini request an order. After asking Home Mini a question, my box was delivered, in my case containing another Home Mini. Afterwards, I was able to pick up a donut for the road (and yes, it was delicious).
Also found at Google’s booth was a Google Express prize center where attendees could line up for the chance to win a Home Mini, Chromecast, gift certificates, and more. It was clearly popular, as at times the line was up to 3 hours long.
The last attraction on display was the “Google Assistant Journey.” Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to try this out as the wait was generally well over 2 hours long. This was especially disappointing considering it involved a swirly slide at the end.
Thankfully, we can all get a look at what was inside thanks to the team at TechCrunch, who was given a quick tour by Google of the “journey.”