Google Assistant started life off back in 2016 as a chatbot experiment, now fast forward to 2018 Google announced that Google Assistant is now available on over 500 million devices ranging from Android Auto, pixelbooks and as expected smartphones and speakers. Along with that Google Assistant will be available in 80 countries come the end of 2018. Having all these connected devices and locations is one thing but having an improved assistant is another. At I/O google revealed some new features that have come to the popular assistant.
One of the main aims of Google was to make the assistant feel natural when interacting with it from a human standpoint. Over the past year, Google has been working with Wavenet voice engine which is a subsidiary of its Deep Mind division. Wavenet works by using a neural network to emphasise natural human speech. The combination of Wavenet and Google’s AI they have introduced 6 new voices that range in gender, tone and expression.
New Mobile Interface
Assistant has had a mobile user interface refresh to go along with the new voices. Assistant will now give the user a quick snapshot of the day, with suggestions based on time, location recent assistant searches. There will now also integration with popular note-taking apps such as Any.do, Todoist and Google,s very own Keep. Ordering your coffee and doughnuts are now even easier with assistant now working with a wide range of store apps (Doordash, Applebee’s and Starbucks). Now, all it takes is a voice action to assistant and your order is placed as you like it.
One of the sticking points to the Assistant was the fact that each time you wanted to interact with it you had to initiate it via the “Okay Google” phrase. Google has now enabled the assistant to work without using “Okay Google” after the first question in an update called continuous conversation. Continuous conversation now lets the user continue to ask question related to the previous answer or question. Assistant understands the user is progressing the query with everything being related. This really emphasises Google’s efforts to make interaction with assistant be more natural and smooth.
Assistant is available on a whole host of devices and used by a whole spectrum of ages especially within the home via Google home smart speakers has lead to the increase of children giving “Okay Google” commands. This interaction with tech is all well and good but Google wanted to get children to ask nicely and be more polite, to which they have introduced “pretty please”. Pretty please is a setting that can be enabled by a parent where it requires the child to say please after their request. If no please is used command will not be fulfilled. To encourage this further when please is used the assistant will reply with a positive encouraging phrase such as “you’re so polite”.
Google has put a lot of work into the assistant to make it more natural and more smooth whilst also adding features that make it even more useful than before. Interaction with store and utility apps, improve efficiency. Continued conversation and pretty please lean towards the natural seamless attitudes seen in adults and children. Google have taken Assistant and giving it a further boost as they look to reach a wider audience as it grows on a daily basis.