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CNBC’s Make It Talks How A ‘Cool Librarian’ Inspired Google Assistant’s Personality

Written by on 27 Apr 2021

Google Assistant, the digital bot powering Google’s Home smart speakers and available as an app for Android and iOS phones, is supposed to feel like a “cool librarian.”

That’s according to Ryan Germick, who leads the team responsible for shaping the product’s personality. In the past few years, all the major tech companies have released their own version of an AI assistant, and experts predict the smart speaker market will continue to grow. Adoption is particularly important for Google, which needs to defend its retail ad sales turf against Amazon (though very few people are actually using smart speakers to shop, yet).

Given the array of options on the market, Germick and his team of filmmakers, comedians, and “empathy experts” want to make sure that its Assistant stands out by being playful, not just capable. It will never be exactly hip, but it will goof around if users prod it.

“If we’re doing our jobs properly, there should hopefully be some sort of emotional attachment to the Assistant — you should be sad if it falls into the sink and goes haywire!” he says. “I think we’re just scratching the surface in terms of creating a character that you really want to spend time with that you feel provides value in your life.”

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