WRAL TV

Connect with WRAL on your Google Home device

Posted March 28

Google Home, right, is seen on display near  Pixel phone following a product event Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016, in San Francisco. Google launched an aggressive challenge to Apple and Samsung introducing its own new line of smartphones called Pixel, which are designed to showcase a digital helper the company calls "Google Assistant."The new phones represent a big new push by Google to sell its own consumer devices, instead of largely just supplying software for other manufacturers. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

"OK Google, talk to WRAL."

WRAL News is now available on Google Home, making it the first local news station in the country to provide a service on the Google Assistant platform.

The WRAL News service for Google Home offers users the top headlines read by WRAL's anchors and reporters, and the latest weather forecast for the Triangle region of North Carolina from WRAL's team of expert meteorologists.

Launched in November 2016, Google Home is a hands-free, always-on speaker that responds to voice commands known as "actions," and delivers information requested by the user through interaction with Google's voice service, Google Assistant.

Much like Apple's "Siri" and Amazon's "Alexa," the Google Assistant is a cloud-based virtual personal assistant that provides voice feedback to user interaction.

The WRAL News action for Google Home joins the WRAL News skill for Amazon Echo in the Raleigh-based news company's suite of voice-first apps.

"When Google announced the Home, we knew that Alexa was going to face some stiff competition," said Jake Seaton, digital product manger for WRAL.com. "We also knew, much like the Amazon Echo, that the Home was a place where WRAL needed to be."

The WRAL News service does not require installation, nor does it need to be enabled. Every Google Home user can request the service by simply "talking to" WRAL.

To access WRAL news and weather, users can say, "OK Google, talk to WRAL," or "OK Google, ask WRAL for the weather," or "OK Google, ask WRAL for my news."

The service can help get Triangle-area residents ready for a busy day by providing them with the latest news headlines and a daily weather forecast.

"Internet of Things" market research and consulting firm Park Associates found that the adoption rate of speakers with voice assistants grew from 5 percent of U.S. households in 2015 to 12 percent in 2016.

"In the past five years, voice control and voice-based technologies have experienced massive growth in the consumer market, igniting the competitive landscape among current and emerging smart home players," said Dina Abdelrazik, research analyst for Parks Associates. "Voice interfaces are advancing due to continued improvements in machine learning and natural language processing, paired with the prevalence of portable devices."

Voice experience analytics provider VoiceLabs goes so far as to say 2017 will be "the year of voice first."

Some 25 million devices will be shipped, leading to a total footprint of 33 million voice-first devices in circulation, VoiceLabs estimates.

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