Google to back Assistant innovation with new start-up fund

News

Google is opening a new investment project for start-ups keen to work on its digital Assistant software.

The aim is for the voice activated software, which powers requests and commands across smartphones, speakers and connected home products, to broaden its functionalities and services it offers users.

Start-ups will receive funding for development, hiring and management of their companies, advice from Google engineers, product managers and designers on how to tweak and improve their own creations, and receive marketing support from Google.

Other benefits include early access to new features and tools to help them launch their products as soon as possible, as well as being able to tap into Google's cloud computing services that also run the likes of search and YouTube.

[Read more: Bouygues to bring Google Assistant to Android TV]

In a blog post, Sanjay Kapoor, VP Corporate Development, and Nick Fox, VP of Product at Google, said: "We’re welcoming companies across a diverse range of fields, including startups that are developing technologies that broaden the Assistant’s set of features, or are building new hardware devices for digital assistants, or that focus on a particular industry such as travel, games, or hospitality."

They added that Google has already made investments in a number of companies, which include GoMoment, whose Ivy serves as a digital concierge for hotel guests and can answer simple questions.

Support has also been given to Edwin, an AI-powered English tutor which sets a number of language tests tailored to the user's individual needs, and Pulse Labs, a means of giving other developers access to insight and feedback for voice application solutions.

Earlier this year, Google hired the former CTO of Samsung Electronics to lead its Internet of Things business.