It's a near certainty that Microsoft will eventually ship a Cortana virtual assistant appliance.
Facebook is a prime candidate to create a "social" virtual assistant appliance, one that might work with Messenger and Facebook's M virtual assistant bot.
And Apple at some point will probably ship a virtual assistant appliance of some kind that runs Siri.
Why Google Assistant should win
With all this future competition, it's clear that Google is in the best position.
The effectiveness and success of an A.I. virtual assistant depends on three factors. First, the quality of the A.I. The smarter the software -- and the better able it is to understand you no matter how you talk -- the more useful and usable it will be. Two years ago, Google acquired an A.I. startup called DeepMind Technologies, which makes A.I. so smart it beats humans in Atari Breakout and Go.
The second factor is personal data. By leveraging Gmail, Searches, Contacts, Calendar, YouTube and other services, Google can easily have the best and most personal user data to apply to personal assistant relevance.
The third factor is ubiquity. Consumers won't want to switch between virtual assistants. They'll want the one that's always present. Google is uniquely positioned to be everywhere, from phones to watches to TVs and even Apple's iOS.
Google Assistant is already the most widely distributed. Alexa isn't available as a text-chat bot in a messaging app. Facebook's M is only available in Messenger. Siri isn't available on Android phones.
Finally, there's a level of habit and trust with Google. To look something up on the Internet is to "Google" it. Assistant will change that to "OK Google" it.
Talking to A.I. is the last user interface. The race is on. So far, it looks like Google is going to win.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.