Channel 4 has announced it’s become the first UK broadcaster to partner with Google’s voice control platform Google Assistant. The integration will mean owners of a Google Home or Google Home Mini device will be able to use the assistant to control Channel 4’s on-demand hub All 4, via Chromecast.
The broadcaster claims users will be able to give commands such as “OK Google, play Googlebox on All 4,” and the Google Assistant will be able to directly load up the All 4 app and the series. Channel 4 made All 4 available on Chromecast back in 2015, and Chromecast has been compatible with Chromecast since last year, but is seeking out new deals with Chromecast’s existing partners to join the dots and make their services compatible with Google Assistant.
The new partnership demonstrates the fine line broadcasters like Channel 4 have to tread between facing up to Google’s threat as a competitor for ad spend, while also partnering with the tech giant where it’s beneficial to do so. Channel 4 has been one of the more active UK broadcasters in joining TV cooperatives designed to counter the digital threat, such as the European Broadcaster Exchange, and struck a direct blow against Google earlier this year as it won a BT Sport advertising contract previously held by Google.
“We have a great track record in partnering with platforms on new innovations, so we’re really excited to be able to launch our first major voice integration with Google, enabling viewers to watch Channel 4 shows quickly on their big screens at homes” said Carl Pfeiffer, head of distribution and platform partnerships at Channel 4.
“We are delighted that Channel 4 viewers in the UK will be able to easily access their favourite TV programmes using simple voice commands. One of the joys of Google Home is to assist in making life’s tasks easier, simpler and more fun for everyone,” said Edward Kenney, head of UK product partnerships at Google Home.
We might expect more partnerships for the Google Assistant to be launched over the coming year as it competes for dominance with Amazon’s Alexa. Just earlier this week, Google announced a partnership with French supermarket Carrefour which will see the two work together on a new “a new grocery shopping experience”. This partnership in particular is interesting as it’s another step by Google directly into Amazon’s e-commerce territory. Google will help bolster Carrefour’s digital footprint, while leveraging the supermarket’s product expertise and know-how in logistics and sales, according to the press release.