At Google I/O, one of the main focuses was the improvement of Google Assistant. The voice assistant found in Android phones, Google Home and other devices has always been considered the best assistant, but it is making giant leaps this year. Google announced a myriad of impressive improvements coming to Google Assistant that sound like a game changers.
First up is the increased integration of Google Assistant with Google Home-esque devices with displays called Smart Displays. LG, Lenovo and JBL are the first companies releasing these devices starting in July. Obviously, they will heavily contrast from Google Home devices since their function is mainly done through screens.
Google Assistant will seamlessly integrate with services like YouTube and YouTube TV. Asking to play a specific movie or a video will conjure it up right to the display. It was shown off in a demo during the keynote, playing a Jimmy Kimmel video. Other things these devices will able to do will be video chats, checking in on home cameras or seeing your morning commute through Google Maps.
The Google Assistant in Android devices is also seeing some major upgrades. It will now be able to connect with apps and interact with their functions. One example provided was Starbucks. Asking it to order your usual Starbucks order will look into the history, order the drink you always order and notice the Starbucks location you usually go to to place the order. The same will be possible for Dominos, Doordash and Dunkin’ Donuts.
Much like Google Now of yesteryear, Google Assistant will now aggregate your daily information into a simple visual snapshot. It will include things like commute information, reminders, calendar appointments, packages, notes and more.
As impressive as all of these announcements were, Google dropped the mic with the announcement of Google Duplex. In short, this is a feature that lets Google Assistant make phone calls for you. Yes, it is as creepy as it sounds but it’s also super intriguing.
The demo showed off saw Google Assistant call a restaurant and make a reservation, conversing with the person on the other end like a normal human. This is where it was creepy; it sounds just like a real person. It can take in changes in the questionnaire and continue the conversation with more questions seeking new information like party size and time changes.
Google Duplex is also seeing its specific feature-set being used as Google seeks more information from businesses. The example provided was business hours, which are easy to figure out because they never change, but holiday hours vary from location to location. Google Duplex will make a one-time call to these businesses and nail down the businesses hours so that when you Google the hours of a location, you won’t ever be presented with a “hours may be different” sign again.
Most of the updates to Google Assistant will roll out later this year.
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