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The Battle for the Kids

This week, both Google and Amazon launched salvos in the war for dominance of ambient voice. First Amazon announced $250,000 in prizes for developers to create kid-loved Skills. Then, Google announced that it had launched 50 children kids experiences.

Having made themselves secure in families’ homes, both companies can now go after winning after the kids, something that would have seemed very creepy a year or two ago. But what’s the value?

The next generation of teens are growing up with voice devices being normal and ubiquitous. They’re probably going to thing typing on a keyboard was really weird and even doing most of the text input through swipe was just silly. This is the time for companies to establish a loyal following from the next generation. If they do, then it’s a market that will continue to pay for decades.

For Google, they’re not leaving this important mission in the hands of developers. They’re forcing the development of these kid-friendly interactions to hopefully set an example. Amazon has taken the more open, community approach with its new contest. I can imagine that the result will be many new premium skills that will cause kids to ask parents to subscribe to Prime. Of course, that’s what all of this is really about.

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