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Google aims to power up Korean homes with smart speaker, stirring local competitors Updated: 2018-09-11 18:06:40 KST

Google Home will soon be making its way into South Korean households, providing its AI speaker services in the local language.
The global IT giant unveiled its Korean-language service Tuesday, a week before the devices hit the shelves.

"Currently number two in the global market, after Amazon's Alexa, Google Assistant is expected to cause quite a splash here in Korea, with this highly anticipated launch coming two years after Google initially released its AI speaker in other parts of the world."

It's clearly prepared to make up for lost time.
In addition to the typical voice-controlled AI functions, such as streaming music and dimming down the lights, Google draws from its wealth of data and platforms used globally to provide differentiated services.

"You can use it with your mobile phone, at home, and even while you're driving via Android auto. You can use two languages at the same time. Google Homewill know which language you're speaking and answer back to that language. It also understands your voice and know who you are so we provide answers based on who you are."

Korea is one of the biggest markets for AI speakers, coming third globally in terms of sales in the first quarter of 2018.
Demand is expected to grow even further, with the number of smart speakers installed in the country set to double to three million this year.
Now with its Korean service launch, Google is well-positioned to dislodge local companies including Samsung, Naver and Kakao, given the sheer size of its database, and the fact that 90 percent of smartphones in the country are powered by the company's Android platform.
Experts say Korean firms need to develop more localized services and contents to retain their appeal.

"Google is the world's top search engine but local portals like Naver remain the most used in South Korea. Google can't respond quickly to the diverse needs of Korean consumers who demand fast services. So there's potential for more services that reflect that, in addition to the current food delivery and language learning services."

The expert, who is developing core technologies for the likes of LG and SK, also stressed the need for firms to improve voice recognition and processing to provide swifter and more accurate services, as competition is only expected to get stiffer in the foreseeable future.
Oh Soo-young, Arirang News.
Reporter : osy@arirang.com
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