(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s
The announcement heralds a step by Google, whose Android system runs on the majority of the world’s smartphones, to get a foothold on Apple’s phones, which have smaller market share but are used by people who tend to spend more on technology.
It comes as Google, Apple and Amazon.com Inc
Speaking at an annual developer conference in Mountain View, California, Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai touted the company’s progress with the Google Assistant, which allows users to complete various tasks through voice commands.
“Humans are interacting with computing in more natural and immersive ways,” he said. “We’ve been using voice as an input across many of our products. We’ve had significant breakthroughs.”
The Assistant debuted last year on Google’s own hardware, and the company has gradually extended the tool to devices from other manufacturers running on its Android operating system.
Google, which gets most of its revenue from its dominant search engine, also released a host of new features for Google Home, a speaker released last year. Users will soon be able to make phone calls using the device, and the HBO Now streaming service, owned by Time Warner Inc
In addition, the company announced that it will offer physical photo albums through its photo app.
(Reporting by Julia Love; Editing by Andrew Hay and Bill Rigby)