Google's software Assistant and corresponding Home hardware are there to answer your questions (within certain limits), but it may not always be Google that answers. In some circumstances, including things like service outages, it looks like Google is able to hand off questions it would typically answer to third-party apps or services. With your consent, of course.
Search Engine Land reported yesterday on the video just above, in which a request about the weather is passed off to AccuWeather, rather than be answered by the Assistant as it ordinarily would. Search Engine Land reached out to a Google spokesperson who said this incident was a result of a "brief outage of our first party weather response," triggering the handoff to AccuWeather as a fallback.
Interruptions in service like these probably aren't the sort of thing we should commonly expect, but it's good that there are other options. We all have our preferences for services, but having a built-in backup prevents your Google Home from being a paperweight when first-party providers are down.
It's worth noting, there are other circumstances in which Google might hand off a request to a third party, as well. "Implicit Invocation" is a tool for developers working with the Actions on Google platform that allows for a third party app to be called by a command that is similar to one which is registered, or in a context in which it would be appropriate. (Given the statement provided, that isn't the case here.)
We've reached out to Google and confirmed the comment Search Engine Land received. So it is worth keeping in mind that the next time you ask Google a question, with your permission, it might just hand you off to a third party.
- Search Engine Land