Hey, Amazon! Google sees your announcement of Alexa being pre-installed on 100m devices, and raises you… tenfold. Or rather: Google says that by the end of January, its Google Assistant voice-assistant will be on more than one billion devices, a figure which The Verge notes has doubled since May 2017. This shows one of Google’s advantages over Amazon in terms of device footprint: smartphones.

“The largest footprint right now is on phones. On Android devices, we have a very very large footprint… the vast majority [of the 1bn figure]” said Google Assistant VP Manuel Bronstein. Note, the billion figure is for devices, not active users, but it still shows Google Assistant’s scale (and in the race to make these voice-assistants smarter and smarter, scale is very important: it’s the pipeline of data on how people are using this technology).

Google wasn’t the only company announcing a milestone yesterday though. Chinese tech firm Baidu says that its DuerOS voice assistant is now being used on more than 200m devices – a figure that has doubled since early August 2018. Baidu has been enjoying strong sales in China of its Xiaodu smart speaker, which launched last June – although the growth of the DuerOS assistant is more about its use in a whole range of devices, from smartphones and GPS navigation systems to smart fridges, TVs and even washing machines.

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