Richard Nieva was a senior reporter for CNET News, focusing on Google and Yahoo. He previously worked for PandoDaily and Fortune Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, on CNNMoney.com and on CJR.org.
Watch this: The first 5 things to do with a new Google Home speaker
Google's announcement comes as its rivalry with Amazon continues to heat up. Last week, the e-commerce giant said 100 million Alexa-enabled devices have been sold so far. Both of the figures by Amazon and Google don't tell the whole story, though. For example, Google's 1 billion Assistant devices also include Android phones, which come with the software already installed by default.
The Assistant is a major part of Google's growth going forward, especially as people do less of their searching on
and directly on Google's iconic homepage. CEO Sundar Pichai has repeatedly said the company is going all out on artificial intelligence.
But when it comes to market share for smart speakers -- the gateway to the smart home for many consumers -- Google still needs to catch up. Amazon's Echo devices dominate the world of smart speakers, with 73 percent of the market. Google's Home devices come in second with 24 percent, according to a report by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, though the research firm notes Google is "making strides."
Google has been trying to drum up enthusiasm for the Assistant at CES. The company plastered the words "Hey Google" -- one of the trigger phrases for the Assistant -- over one of the main entrances of the Las Vegas Convention Center, as well as on the city's monorail.
Check out all the smart home products at CES 2018 (so far)