Google Assistant sees new voices, background phone calls and a bunch of new features

Earlier today, Google held its keynote for Google I/O 2018. The three-day event is just beginning on the west coast, and we’re diving into the search giant’s announcements to share what’s most important. This starts with the Google Assistant, the company’s AI and deep learning voice assistant, which is gaining a ton of abilities for users.

The Google Assistant is trying to save time for you anywhere and everywhere it can with new features that were introduced today. First off, there will be six new voices coming to the Google Assistant starting today, both on Android and iOS, said to be “more conversational.” We can very much agree, as one of them is singer John Legend’s voice. This one, unlike the others, will be available later this year only for certain contexts, which does not surprise us since you can’t exactly replicate a real human’s voice for every function. Another neat little feature is called ‘Pretty Please’ which will teach little ones good manners. Google will give reinforcement when words like ‘Please’ are used in making a request.

In the coming weeks, all users of Google Assistant will no longer have to repeat “Hey Google” or “Okay Google” for every request. This feature is known as ‘Continued Conversation’ and will understand your unique voice so that you don’t have to repeat the hot-word before every command. This will be super useful, that is, if it works as described. Also announced and rolling out today are ‘Multiple Actions.’ This allows users to ask the Google Assistant two questions in a single command and get proper answers to both in one response. This will improve with time and use like most other functions.

One of the coolest things Google announced today, not just Google Assistant related, but out of everything is the ability for the Google Assistant to make personalized phone calls for you. This is known as Google Duplex, and will roll out this summer. If you need to book a doctor’s appointment, give Google a preferred date and time, go about the rest of your day, and in the background, the Google Assistant will call the doctor’s office on your behalf and make an appointment. Even though Google demoed the feature and it worked well, I have some concerns about this. Anyhow, the robotic idea is futuristic for sure and if everything goes accordingly, you’ll get a confirmation once it’s all done. In the future, Google’s hope is that this will work for ordering dinner and other things too.

To this point, everything we’ve mentioned involves the Google Assistant voice functionality and is expected to eventually make way to all enabled devices including Google Home, Smart Displays, and the standard version for mobile devices like smartphones and watches. The visual version of Google Assistant on the smartphone is also getting a neat upgrade with larger pictures that take advantage of screen space. There are also more built-in controls and a new dashboard called ‘Assistant Snapshot’ that can give you an overview of your day at a glance with just a swipe from the homescreen. There’s no new functionality here, but everything is more organized to save you time when in need of information. These changes will roll out on Android this summer and select iOS devices later in the year.

With all these features to come in some form over the next year, Google Assistant will extend its lead over competing intelligent assistants like Amazon Alexa (arguably). What really separates the Google Assistant apart from the rest is its ability to get better with time and use, and Google’s constant introduction of new features that are tailored to giving customers a better experience across all their devices.


Which upcoming feature is your favorite? Let us know in the comments and enjoy the rest of Google I/O 2018.

SOURCE [Google Keyword]

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About Doug Demagistris 1627 Articles
Doug Demagistris is the Founder and current Editor In Chief of Droid Turf. He grew up in New York and now attends Bryant University where he is studying marketing and communication. He has been and always will be a Google enthusiast thanks to Android’s customization, flat design and exceptional integration with various Google services. Currently, Doug uses a Pixel 2 XL as his daily driver for its unique design, powerful hardware, exceptional camera, and stock experience. For shorter instances, he’ll glance at his Huawei Watch. And for more productive work, you’ll find him typing away on his Pixelbook. Doug is hopeful his productivity will make lives easier, more meaningful and help down the road.