Google just announced some new updates coming to Google Assistant in the near future. You can access a preview of some of these developments now using the Google Assistant app for Android or iOS. And the Google Assistant feature for smart speaker devices like Google Home will be automatically updated once these new additions are available. Here’s some more information about what’s new.
The actual voice of the Google Assistant is one of its most important attributes. And until now, you really only had access to a standard, robotic voice. But thanks to advancements in AI and WaveNet technology, Google is able to add new voices without having a voice actor spend days in a recording studio. With that, there are now six new voices to choose from. So you can set your devices to speak as John Legend or a number of other more personalized options.
In addition, you can make your conversations with Google Assistant more natural with the Continuous Conversation feature. You’ll be able to turn on this option and basically continue a back-and-forth dialogue without having to repeat “Hey Google” with each request. The Assistant can automatically detect when you’re speaking to it versus another person. And it will also be able to understand complex queries, so you can ask it about more than one thing at a time.
To build upon the Assistant’s existing Routines feature, it will also soon feature an option for Custom Routines. This will allow you to create your own Routine using any of the assistant’s Actions and then start it with a phrase of your choosing.
New visual experiences
Until now, Google Assistant has mainly been about the voice features. But the new update will also bring some visual tools to the forefront. For example, Smart Displays will become available for purchase in July. These new devices provide a screen where you can quickly glance at the assistant’s responses to visually-based questions. You can still interact with it using your voice or swipe or tap the screen when that’s easier.
On smartphones, Google Assistant will also be able to give you some new visual cues. For instance, the Assistant can give you a snapshot of your day, with suggestions based on your location, recent interactions, and even time of day. It will also integrate notes and list services from Google Keep, Any.do, and Todoist, among others in order to generate a summary of tasks and other items that might impact your day. Later this summer, Google Assistant is also coming to Google Maps so that users can send text messages, play music, and accomplish other smartphone tasks without taking their eyes off the road.
Google is also getting ready to test a new capability within the Assistant using new technology called Google Duplex. The feature, which will be tested starting this summer, will actually make calls for you to do things like book reservations or schedule appointments. The Google Duplex technology allows the Assistant to understand complex sentences, fast speech, and long phrases that tend to come up in real, human conversations. It can also respond naturally in those phone conversations, while still letting the people on the other end of each call know the context. Once the appointment is made, the Assistant will add an appointment to your calendar.
Google Assistant available in more countries
Finally, Google is bringing the Assistant to more countries than ever before. Google Home and Google Home Mini will be available in Denmark, South Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden in the coming months. Google Assistant will also be available in Spanish for Android Oreo phones soon.