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Search giant Google is welcoming companies across a diverse range of fields, including startups that are developing technologies that broaden Google Assistant’s set of features, or are building new hardware devices for digital assistants, or that focus on a particular industry such as travel, games, or hospitality. The Google Assistant is a virtual assistant (like Apple’s Siri) developed by Google that is primarily available on mobile and smart home devices.

The new initiative will include investment capital from Google to provide additional financial resources for the development, hiring and management of these startups.

The startups will get advice from Google engineers, product managers and design experts to share technical guidance and product development feedback.

“.. we’re opening a new investment program for early-stage startups that share our passion for the digital assistant ecosystem, helping to push new ideas forward and advance the possibilities of what digital assistants can do,” announced Sanjay Kapoor, Vice President, Corporate Development at Google, in a blog post on Wednesday.

The programme will let startups access to the Google Cloud Platform — the suite of cloud computing services that run on the same infrastructure that it uses for products like Google Search and YouTube.

The first batch of investments has startups includes — GoMoment, a creator of “Ivy”, a 24/7 concierge for hotel guests, capable of providing instant answers to common questions; Edwin, that prepares students looking to take English as a foreign language tests such as the “Test of English as a Foreign Language” (TOEFL); BotSociety, a startup that has created a tool that allows developers to design, prototype and user test voice interfaces; and Pulse Labs, that helps voice application designers understand what their users want to do by letting them test their applications with real people, quickly acquire in-depth insights, and use that feedback to refine the experience.

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Interested companies and startups that have big ideas and are interested in partnering with the Google Assistant team can reach out to apply through this Google Assistant investment form.

It may be recalled that, last week, Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. has shared a result from its years of sizeable startup investing for the first time disclosing that its startup holdings are worth about $11 billion.

Alphabet is one of the most prolific corporate investors in startups. In 2017, Crunchbase data shows that these three main investing arms of Alphabet along with Google itself has invested in 103 deals.

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