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Google Tracker: Smart Move In Smart Speaker Race

The Google Assistant finds a home away from the Home as third parties integrate it into their smart speakers using Google’s open software development kit. Soon it will also reside on Google’s own Home device and forthcoming Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2 Android phones. Plus, how does Alphabet plan to use deep learning to increase ad revenue, what’s XXVI Holdings, and should you buy or sell Google stock this month? All in this week’s tracker.

Smart Move

Why should the voice-activated assistant race stop at smart speakers and cellphones? Amazon, for instance, wants to get Alexa in as many products as possible, so it opened up its Alexa Skills Kit for anyone to use and incorporate the smart assistant into its platform.

The Google Assistant, too, is looking to move away from Home and opened up its own SDK in April. The result? Tons and tons of off-brand Google Home smart speakers flooding this week’s IFA technology trade show in Berlin, where several firms have announced their decision to incorporate the Google Assistant over (or with) other voice assistants.

That included a number of smart speakers: The Panasonic GA10, the Sony LF-S50G, the Anker Zolo Mojo, the MobVoi TicHome Mini, and the JBL Link. Several Android smartphones also made the call: the LG V30, the Moto X4, and the Wileyfox Swift 2 (though some of these will double up, running both Alexa and the Google Assistant). Plus, the Google Assistant will be featured on the new Fossil Q Venture and Q Explorist smartwatches and the LG Lawn Mower Robot.

The Ad Machine

At Alphabet, Google’s parent company, 87 percent of revenue comes from ads, so it only makes sense that the company would want to deliver more accurate click predictions to support and increase that $22.7 billion quarterly boon. As Microsoft noted, even an improvement of 0.1 percent accuracy could deliver “hundreds of millions of dollars in additional earnings.”

Wired reported that Google plans to improve by at least that much using a deep learning system to grow those ad dollars even more. Deep learning can get at things like the cause-and-effect behind an ad you saw last week and what you clicked or bought today.

The Future Is Clear

Google stocks will likely be a good buy this month, according to InvestorPlace. The site notes that shareholders have seen positive returns in 10 of the last 13 Septembers, averaging a 5.72 percent return on the stocks in September over the same time period.

InvestorPlace even breaks it down, showing how Google made a strong showing in September, particularly during its most successful years (2009, 2013 and 2015). In the stock market, this may be the closest thing you can get to a guarantee.

What’s In A Name?

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but Google by any other name would have a totally different valuation. That’s why the company in 2015 announced that it was restructuring into multiple parts under the umbrella company Alphabet. That placed Google’s “Other Bets” projects in a separate category that would not affect the bottom line or any other factors at the core Google business.

Meet XXVI Holdings Inc., the newly formalized “Other Bets” company. XXVI is the Roman numeral for 26, the number of letters in the alphabet. It encompasses projects like the self-driving car tech creator Waymo and the digital health and medical devices specialist Verily.

Engadget noted that, when you break it down, this is simply a shift in corporate structure and will have no real-world impact on shareholders, operations or management.

He Said She Said The Pixel 2 Is Coming

It’s all just rumors so far, but the Pixel 2 is supposedly on the way. No official information or release date have been revealed, though Evleaks tweeted that the grand unveiling would take place  Oct. 5.

Pixel 2 photos leaked via VentureBeat showed a product remarkably like the Pixel we already have. It still has bezels, though it seems to have gotten rid of the headphone jack. The device is reported to have “Active Edge,” a feature that lets users squeeze the sides to perform different functions; it’s how they launch the Google Assistant.

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