Google chats up Coachella fans with voice features, Pixel photo booths
- Google expanded its partnership with the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival with the rollout of a voice feature for Google Assistant, according to a company blog post. Users can say "Hey Google, talk to Coachella" to access music lineups, artist interviews and visitor guides, play Coachella-themed trivia and create a personalized schedule integrated with the Coachooser app.
- The search giant will also promote its Pixel 2 line of smartphones at the California event by converting gondolas on the festival's Ferris wheel into "Pixel photo booths" with scenic backdrops.
- Those who aren't attending the festival can tune in to an exclusive live stream on Google's YouTube from April 13-15. Viewers can also watch some performances using virtual reality (VR) headsets Google Cardboard and Daydream View for a more immersive experience.
Google is smart to leverage strong interest in music festivals like Coachella, which draws a number of marketing partnerships, to promote its new smartphones and voice features and generate excitement among music fans ahead of the annual festival. In 2017, 125,000 people attended Coachella each weekend of the two-weekend event, suggesting Google will have a chance to get in front of a similarly large audience this year. Coachella and YouTube have long been partners, as the video platform has streamed the music festival for the past seven years. YouTube's parent company, Google, is ramping up its presence around the event this year to showcase its tech to a group of generally young, mobile-savvy attendees.
This comes as Google competes more vigorously with e-commerce giant Amazon in the smart speaker market by flaunting new voice-enabled actions that are equivalent to Amazon Alexa's skills, apps that respond to voice commands. The special features work on the Google Home, Mini and Max devices, in addition to smartphones that have the Google Assistant app, letting fans coordinate for their visit before and during the festival and let those who aren't attending feel part of the action at home.
YouTube this year is giving viewers a choice of four live-stream feeds with different artists simultaneously, including the new VR180 channel that lets viewers experience performances and exclusive coverage using Google-created VR headsets. Aside from engaging fans at home, the immersive experience will showcase Google's muscle in developing the technology for live events. Like last year, the Coachella YouTube channel also will include a video-on-demand hub with highlights and footage from throughout the event.