Google Assistant has a long ways to go, but there is a clear
picture of what success will look like: Google Photos. Launched
only two years ago, Pichai bragged that Photos now has over 500
million active users who upload 1.2 billion photos a day. This is
a spectacular number for one very simple reason: Google Photos is
not the default photo app for Android or iOS. Rather, Google has
earned all of those photos simply by being better than the
defaults, and the basis of that superiority is Google’s machine
Moreover, much like search, Photos gets better the more data it
gets, creating a virtuous cycle: more photos means more data which
means a better experience which means more users which means more
photos. It is already hard to see other photo applications
Google Photos is Google at its best. Their visual recognition is clearly the best in the world right now, and Thompson makes a good point that the “virtuous circle” makes it difficult for anyone to catch up.
In addition to being a great product, technically, Google Photos also launched with a terrific ad campaign.