Today is the first day of Google I/O, the company’s giant developers conference. That means the company is busy announcing a variety of new features and products, including upgrades to Google Assistant.
Assistant is already seen as one of the best digital personal assistant options out there, and Google is aiming to make the feature even better with a host of new elements being added to the mix. That includes interacting with the assistant, and hearing new voices. There are six new options, one of which is the singer/songwriter John Legend. His voice will be added to the mix later this year, and you will be able to hear him in “certain contexts”.
The first major new feature for Assistant is called Continued Conversations. This is meant to make it easier to have a conversation with the digital feature, with users getting more information along the way. This means Assistant users won’t have to constantly say “Hey Google” to get something done, too. Now, with this new feature, users will simply be able to move from one query to the next, chaining them together in a more fluent way.
To boost that particular feature, there is support for Multiple Actions as well. This means that users will be able to offer up a few different questions or actions and Assistant will be able to parse each one and offer a solution. One demonstration was asking Assistant who was the Governor of California during a specific time and when a specific basketball player was drafted. Another demonstration had Google Assistant turning down the lights in a room and starting the popcorn maker.
Google wants to make it so kids aren’t becoming rude animals when bossing around their digital personal assistant, too. That’s why they are introducing a new feature called “Pretty Please”. Now, when a kid asks Assistant a query or requests an action and uses the word “please”, they will get a reply from the Assistant that shows gratification and, in some instances, thanks them for being so polite.
Google Duplex is tied to Assistant as well, and it will allow the digital personal assistant to actually make phone calls on your behalf. The demonstration on stage showed Assistant calling a salon and setting up an appointment for a person named Lisa. The Assistant was able to understand the person on the other end of the line, make changes on the fly based on the conversation, and then confirm the upcoming appointment.
All of these features will be rolling out in different stages, from the coming weeks to later this year. They will be introduced on iOS as well.
The only thing to be said here is that we can all hope that some of these similar features get introduced with Siri. WWDC is going to be fun. Hopefully.