Celebrating the launch of voice search in French, Google House opens in Paris

Nov 18, 2013
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Google has just launched voice search in French and with it the new Google House to showcase their products. Built in the heart of Paris, the Google House has been designed to showcase the use of different Google products in our daily lives – with a special focus on voice assisted search.

The search giant is ever more present in our daily routines, search is taking place in new contexts – in the kitchen or in the car – and Google’s products now scope much beyond search itself. The connected house from Google consolidates the different touchpoints with its users and gives a well-rounded storytelling scenario for using its products. While modest from the outside, the Google House has been lavishly decorated, giving users a warm tour around its corners. A clear storyline drives users upon each division in the house, showcasing a different product or technology.

Showing some love for the food-loving-French-citizens, Google has included their voice search in French with over 1.000 food ingredients in their knowledge graph – so you can ask Google how many calories there are in an apple and it will return you 52 calories for each 100 grams of apple. To reinforce the use of voice search in the kitchen, the Google House has imagined different uses of search while cooking – from asking the phone to retrieve a recipe, to looking up images of the ingredients you are looking for, or simply asking the phone to do other tasks while you are busy preparing that thing you love.

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Throughout the house, there are screens that are bigger representations of Android phones and TV screens – depending on the use. For example, in the living room, Google wants to convince you that their Chromecast HDMI dongle is the way to go when it comes to media consumption on the big screen – you attach it to your TV screen so that you can stream content from your Android phone. And that it’s easier to use Google’s photo service to share photos and videos with friends (aka Google Plus). Google also chose to showcase their Google Art Project in the House : with a dedicated screen; visitors can travel through the Château de Versailles with street view technology inside the browser – makes sense, being in Paris and all, right?

The ever present element in the Google House is the creepy service Google Now, which predicts your next move with the help of all the data you give over to Google – your calendar, e-mail, contacts, conversations, friend lists, location history, web-browsing patterns, etc. It’s also very practical, giving you the weather in the morning, the state of traffic before you leave home, or the results of your favorite sports team in case you didn’t watch the game.

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Overall, Google is trying to make you realize that since you already use some of their services, why not use some more and getting more out of the experience? The Google House is not about innovation in itself, it’s about giving users the chance to understand how existing technologies can change their daily lives. What Google gives us for free is enough to make our routine very much like sci-fi movie, but the most of us are probably still only using Google for web search on our laptops. The House pulls all the different Google products in one single experience – very in tune with Google’s latest strategy to become one company. As an ephemeral project the Parisian Google House has already been closed and is now heading to Berlin, making it the third of its kind after London and Paris.