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Google’s annual spectacle at CES is no more, with tech show going virtual


#Google installed an actual ride in its booth back in 2019.

#James #Martin/CNET

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#This story is part of THESE, where our editors will bring you the latest news and the hottest gadgets of the entirely virtual CES 2021.

#One of the biggest disappointments from CES 2021 going virtual will be the lack of a splashy booth by #Google. #Whether you cared about the company’s bevy of #Google #Assistant-related announcements, it was hard to deny the stagecraft employed by the tech giant.

#For the last few years, #Google boasted some of the most eye-catching CES booths, from a theme park ride in 2019 to an escape room back in #January’s show. #Unlike other CES heavy hitters, like #Samsung or LG, #Google opted to place its typically massive “activations” in the parking lot in front of the #Las #Vegas #Convention #Center, suddenly making that a trendy spot to place a booth.

#Google’s booths largely pushed the benefits of #Google #Assistant, underscoring the importance of the digital assistant as it scrambled to claw back market share from #Amazon’s #Alexa, which had a head start in the area thanks to #Amazon’s array of #Echo speakers. #Indeed, #Google and its #Assistant were part of a battle waged over digital assistants at past CES shows, with extravagant booths and with partners announcing that their respective assistants would come embedded in a new television, car or some other gadget.

#But with CES going virtual, a move dictated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many of the show’s biggest names are opting to skip the show. #Google will hold partner meetings, but it won’t have a large presence at the show, according to a spokesman. #It’s not alone — the #Consumer #Technology #Association said it expects about 1,000 exhibitors at the virtual show, less than a quarter of the total from the #January confab.

#As a reminder of what you’re missing, here’s a look back at some of the past #Google exhibitions.

2020: #Google’s escape room

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The company’s attempt to promote its digital assistant likely peaked in #January during CES 2020, with an escape room where the only way to get out was to employ #Google #Assistant (talk about a captive audience). #Google made its presence felt earlier this year in the parking lots of #Vegas’ convention center with a two-story funhouse that drew long lines throughout the week.

Google Booth CES 2020

#Google “trapped” its guests, requiring them to use #Google #Assistant to make their way out.

#James #Martin/CNET

#This was the escape room’s premise: #You’re meeting with investors (how #Silicon #Valley) for dinner, and they want you to serve a specific dish: bacon and #Brussels burrata di bufala risotto burritos. #You go about your day using the #Google #Assistant to help you navigate to the market, preheat the oven and put on music for dinner.

#You couldn’t accuse #Google of phoning it in. #Part of the experience included being in a car to use #Assistant.

2019: The theme park ride

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#This was a favorite moment of #Google’s venture into CES. #At a show known for crazy attractions — BMW had taken riders on a drifting experience in the same parking lot just a year earlier — #Google may’ve topped everyone by bringing its own version of “#It’s a #Small #World” by way of a tongue-in-cheek theme ride.

#Google was taking it too seriously. The PA system welcomed riders by noting that the gimmick was “part ride, part marketing stunt, let’s be honest with ourselves.” #But the fun ride had a serious point to make about #Google #Assistant’s interpreter mode, which was announced as the show opened.

google-booth-google-ride-ces-2019-8148

#Google went all out with its setup in 2019.

#James #Martin/CNET

#This was also the year #Google really made its presence known, plastering “#Hey #Google” — one of the trigger phrases for #Assistant — all over #Las #Vegas, including near one of the main entrances of the convention center and on the monorail that connects the venue to many of the casinos on the #Strip.

#At the show, #Google announced a slew of offerings, including a new smart clock manufactured by #Lenovo and a new platform that aimed to make it easier for device makers to add the #Assistant to their gadgets.

2018: A three-story playground

#Google was just getting going with its massive booths. #This one included multiple rooms showing off different devices powered by #Google #Assistant, and was capped off with a twisting slide off the third story. #It seems quaint now, next to the theme park ride, but back then it made waves at the show.

#In a bit of a meta touch, the giant booth itself included a bunch of smaller, mini booths: phone booths turned into mini art projects that each showed off a capability of #Google #Assistant, from playing music to fielding trivia questions.

#This marked the first big year for #Google at the show.

183-google-assistant-these-2018-booth-tour

#Google’s 2018 booth was part fun house, part pitch for #Assistant.

#Sarah #Tew/CNET

2017: #Lots of news, lower-key presence

#You can cut #Google some slack for laying relatively low at this show. #This was the first CES since #Google unveiled its #Google #Home smart speaker, the first device to house #Google #Assistant. #Rather than offering a large exhibit, #Google let partnership announcements take center stage and prove that it was building momentum to take on #Amazon’s #Alexa. #Companies including #Belkin, #Hyundai, #Chrysler and #Nvidia all offered support for #Assistant.


#Now playing:
#Watch this:

#Ride #Google’s roller coaster at CES 2019


6:17

#Google #Assistant was more of a curiosity and a project back then. #Now that it’s far more widely spread — embedded into #Android phones as well as the increasingly popular line of smart speakers. The digital assistant is a more serious player. #Had CES remained a physical event (which in this environment would’ve been a terrible idea), #Google likely would’ve pulled off another attention-grabbing setup.

#We’ll have to wait until CES 2021 to see what #Google has up its sleeve next.



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https://www.cnet.com/news/googles-annual-spectacle-at-ces-is-no-more-with-tech-show-going-virtual/

##Googles #annual #spectacle #CES #tech #show #virtual

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