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Google Assistant is about to get way, way smarter

by Todd Haselton | December 8, 2016December 8, 2016 1:00 pm PDT

Google Assistant and, therefore Google Home and the Pixel, are about to become way, way smarter. That’s because Google officially launched its Google Assistant API on Thursday, which will allow developers to build support right into their apps and services.

According to Ars Technica, Google’s API works a bit differently than Amazon. To tap into a third-party application like Spotify on an Echo, for example, you’d open up the Amazon Alexa app on your smartphone and install the extension for Spotify. That’s not how third-party apps will work with Google Home. Instead, Google will add the support on its end. Users don’t have to do anything from an app or their device.

That’s good and bad.

The good news is that Google Assistant will get smarter no matter where she is, either on your phone or in Google Home, without you having to do anything. If Spotify support is added, it’s just available to you right away. The bad news is that it’s going to be harder to figure out what the heck the third party app is capable of doing, or what the commands are.

Ars Technica said that Google already launched two apps, Number Genie and Talk to Eliza, both of which are available right now… but you wouldn’t know it because, well, you don’t know the commands. You first have to say “Talk to Number Genie” or “Talk to Eliza.” Those are only supported by Google Home right now, by the way.

Be prepared to say “Exit”

Worse, Ars Technica explains that you can’t just start speaking out other commands like you would to Siri or Alexa. If you say, “Alexa play Rolling Stones on Spotify,” for example, she’ll play music. If you ask Alexa the weather, she’ll stop the music and tell you the current temperature.

With Google Assistant’s API, if you launch something like Spotify, you’re stuck in it until your say “exit” or let it time out, Ars Technica explained. That’s kind of annoying.

In any case, we should start to see Google Assistant support from additional apps in the near future, which is good news no matter how you shake it. It just might take a little bit of time to get used to her.

Ars Technica

Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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