The big picture: Smart assistants like Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri have always been popular, but they've only really started to pick up traction over the past couple of years. This is partly because the assistant's creators are rolling them out to more devices than ever. In that regard, Google's aptly-named Assistant AI is doing particularly well.
As of this time last year, the search giant had managed to bring the tool to a whopping 400 million devices - that's no small feat, even with Google's wide influence in mind.
Now, that number is rapidly approaching one billion devices, all of which will have Assistant (in some form) by the end of January.
Of course, as impressive as that figure is, it's slightly misleading. After all, just because someone has Assistant on one of their gadgets (whether it be a PC, a smartphone, or something else) doesn't mean they actively take advantage of it.
Regardless, even if the number of real Assistant users is proportionally small, it's very likely that it has grown significantly throughout 2018; particularly during the holidays.
The months of November and December are always pretty major sales periods for Assistant-equipped devices (mostly due to Christmas, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday). It's inevitable that at least a few of the people who receive or purchase such a device will grow attached to Assistant, and use it on a regular basis.