Google CES Dark Ride
These days CES is as much about the evolutionary product than it is about the revolutionary product. Along side exciting early stage technology concepts you will find the latest computer, cell phone, etc. lineups of products that will hit store shelves this year.
One of the major areas of competition right now is in the smart assistant space. While Apple sort of created this space with Siri, Amazon and Google seem to be today’s dominate players. And Google is really making a push to grow in this sector by putting the Google Assistant everywhere.
The Google Assistant Ride
And that’s a good thing because someone at Google greenlit a MASSIVE marketing budget for the company’s 2019 CES booth. In addition to the phrase “Hey Google” being plastered everywhere, they built a proper Disney style dark ride. The ride which rumors say was overseen by a Google Executive with past Disney experience, is top notch.
The “experience” starts just like all good rides with a proper line. Waits were 30-60 minutes during my visit which was on the last day of the show. Following your wait in line, you’ll be let into the building where you’ll pass an interactive grandma animatronic. Grandma is turning 91 (you’ll celebrate her birthday on the ride) and she loves to talk to guests as they walk by.
Following your experience with grandma, you’ll be ushered into a preshow room where the story is setup. Finally, you’ll head upstairs for the ride. With a proper queue, animatronics, a full ride system and awesome set design this is actually much better than anything I expected. They put in an extraordinary amount of effort on a ride that was open just a few days!
As for the ride, it lasts 3 minutes and follows a family’s day as they use Google Assistant for various tasks such as rerouting in traffic, home automation and translation. While admittedly the ride is a marketing pitch, it wouldn’t feel out of place at a park like Epcot.
Like many traditional dark rides, there is also a catchy song, an awesome party at the end to tie everything together and an outdoor section. About halfway through the ride the vehicles go outside for views of the convention center and business of CES below.
Okay, this is a ride that was built for a conference to highlight a technology. I get it. With that said, many rides at parks like Disney were built for similar reasons. Overall the story and art design were fantastic and this feels like it could be a permanent installation. Google got this right.
Watch the Full Ride
There are a couple of good POVs of the ride that are worth watching. Google has a 360 degree POV that is fun, but for a better idea of the guest experience I think it’s also worth watching a normal POV. The normal POV below also has the preshow.
Google 360 Degree POV
Regular POV with Preshow
As both a technology and a theme park nerd, I was really excited to see the Google Experience Ride. Google delivered on the fun experience they were hoping for and I personally hope they keep working on future Google rides!
What do you think? Is this awesome or just another forgettable marketing stunt? Let us know in the comments!