Google Assistant Gets Six New Voices, Continued Conversation, Multiple Actions, Custom Routines, More

Google Assistant Gets Six New Voices, Continued Conversation, Multiple Actions, Custom Routines, More

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Google announced some big improvements to the Google Assistant at Google I/O 2018 today. The company says that Google Assistant is already available on over 500 million devices and works with 5000 connected home devices. It's also available in cars from over 40 manufacturers and will be available in over 30 languages and 80 countries by the end of 2018.

At Google I/O the company revealed that it has dramatically improved its language understanding, allowing users to speak more naturally to Google Assistant.

Here's a look at some of the new features announced...

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New voices
One of the most important parts of the Assistant is its voice—it needs to feel both personal and natural. Up until now, creating a new voice took hundreds of hours in a recording studio. But with advancements in AI and WaveNet technology from DeepMind, we can now create new voices in just a few weeks and are able to capture subtleties like pitch, pace, and all the pauses that convey meaning, so that voices are natural-sounding and unique. Starting today, you can choose from six new voices for your Google Assistant. And John Legend will lend his melodic tones to the Assistant later this year—who wouldn’t want him wishing you A Good Night?

Continued Conversation
Soon you’ll be able to have a natural back-and-forth conversation without repeating “Hey Google” for each follow-up request. The Assistant will be able to understand when you’re talking to it versus someone else, and will respond accordingly. This feature has been one of our top requests and you’ll be able to turn on Continued Conversation in the coming weeks.

Multiple Actions
A key part of having a natural conversation is being able to ask about many things at once. With Multiple Actions, which is already starting to roll out, the Google Assistant will be able to understand more complex queries like “What’s the weather like in New York and in Austin?”

Pretty Please
Assistant features for families—powered by Family Link—provides free family-friendly games, activities, and stories from content partners like Disney. (Families have listened to over 130,000 hours of children’s stories in the last two months alone.) To help you give your little ones some positive reinforcement when they ask nicely, later this year we’ll introduce Pretty Please, so that the Assistant can understand and encourage polite conversation.

Custom and scheduled Routines
Earlier this year we launched six ready-made Routines to help you get multiple things done with a single command. Starting today, we’re rolling out Custom Routines, which allow you to create your own Routine with any of the Google Assistant’s one million Actions, and start your routine with a phrase that feels best for you. For example, you can create a Custom Routine for family dinner, and kick it off by saying "Hey Google, dinner's ready" and the Assistant can turn on your favorite music, turn off the TV, and broadcast “dinner time!” to everyone in the house. Later this summer, you’ll be able to schedule Routines for a specific day or time either using the Assistant app or through the Google Clock app for Android.

Visually Assistive
So far the Assistant has been centered on the verbal conversation you can have with Google, but now we’re bringing the simplicity of voice together with a rich visual experience.

Smart Displays
Smart Displays are a new category of devices built for the home that let you quickly glance at responses provided by the Google Assistant. You can access the Assistant hands-free by voice, but you can also tap and swipe the screen when that’s easier. You can follow along with a recipe, control your smart home, watch live TV on YouTube TV, and make video calls with Google Duo. Smart Displays come integrated with all your favorite Google services like Calendar, Maps, and YouTube. The first Smart Displays will be available for purchase starting in July.

New visual experience for the phone
We’re also redesigning the Assistant experience on the screen that’s with us all the time—our phones. The Assistant will give you a quick snapshot of your day, with suggestions based on the time of day, location and recent interactions with the Assistant. To provide a summary of tasks and list items, we’re integrating popular notes and lists services from Google Keep, Any.do, Todoist and many more. We’re also bringing a new food pick-up and delivery experience to the Assistant that isn’t constrained by a chat-style interface, so you can order your favorites from Starbucks, Doordash and Applebee’s, in addition to existing partners like Dunkin’ Donuts and Domino’s. The new visual design will be available in the Google Assistant app later this year.

Google Maps
The Assistant is coming to navigation in Google Maps later this summer, with a low visual profile so you can keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. You'll be able to send text messages, play music and podcasts, and get information without leaving the navigation screen. For example, say “Hey Google, read me my messages” and you can get a summary of unread texts with the option to respond by voice.
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Take a look at the video below for more details...


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