At CES 2019, you couldn't escape Google if you tried

The search giant set up a massive booth to showcase its software and devices, but Google’s presence extends far beyond that.

Richard Nieva Former senior reporter
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.
Richard Nieva
2 min read

Google went all-in at CES.

Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

You couldn't go very far without seeing the words "Hey Google" plastered somewhere at CES  this week.

The search giant posted the trigger phrase for its Google Assistant software in giant letters above a main entrance to the Las Vegas Convention Center. It turned the city's monorail into moving billboards.

And for the second year in a row,  Google  unleashed an army of human "Google Assistants" dressed in white outfits who looked like a cross between house painters and snowboarders. Wearing hats and jackets with "Hey Google" printed on them, the workers taught conference-goers how the Assistant worked with different products across the show floor.

Watch this: Google Assistant Connect paves a path for wacky future gadgets at CES 2019

Most of the white-clad Google workers I approached declined to be interviewed, because they said to refer questions from the press to Google's communications department. But one worker I spoke to said Google found him through a temp agency.

Google also had a massive booth to showcase how the Assistant works with products from TVs to car dashboards. The company even set up its own version of "It's a Small World" that was, as the attraction itself stated, "part ride, part marketing stunt, if we're really being honest with ourselves."

CES has become an important staging ground for Google as it pushes its hardware products to compete with gear from the likes of Amazon , Apple and Samsung . In the last few years, Google has stepped up its investment in consumer gadgets , with products including the Google Home smart speakers, Nest thermostats and Chromecast streaming devices.

All in all, Google said its presence at the show was three times larger than it was in 2018. But the company's footprint wasn't restricted to its own booth. Google's marketing blitz went far and wide.

Here's a look at other places in Las Vegas the search company plastered the words "Hey Google," from the convention center to Tech West in the Sands Expo, to above a Walgreens. This look isn't meant to be comprehensive, but it shows how much time, effort and money Google put into making a splash at CES 2019. (Google didn't respond to multiple requests for comment on how much it spent on the show.)

'Hey Google' was posted far and wide at CES 2019

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