At this year’s Google I/O the search giant revealed some nifty new features that are coming to the Google Assistant. Some more evolutionary, and some clearly revolutionary. Here’s what you can expect the voice assistant to be able to do in Android P:
Speak in More Voices
This one we saw coming a mile away. Initially, the virtual assistant was available in only one voice. One very monotonic voice. Over time, with Google working hard on natural language detection and response, a couple of more natural sounding voices were added. It should come as no surprise then, that Google would add more voices to support their assistant, with one of them being John Legend! Let that sink in. Now if only they got Morgan Freeman…
Continued Conversation & Multiple Actions
Google Assistant has consistently proven itself to be the most capable of actually holding a conversation with you. If there’s one area it has improved upon against Siri or Cortana, it’s the ability to understand speech context. The assistant could actually understand what context you’re speaking in and whether to answer the query or not. Now, it’s even better.
Google Assistant will actually be able to know when you’re speaking to it, and when you are, you won’t have to use the hotword “Hey Google” anymore. Once triggered, the assistant will keep in mind what commands and/or queries you’ve given it and will answer accordingly. It will also (finally) support multiple action commands. Which means that you can finally give multiple commands or ask more than one question at the same time. And it will understand the two (or more) parts of your query and process it accordingly. Pretty efficient, we know.
As stated above, Google Assistant has been miles ahead of the competition by far. Which also means that more and more people around the world are using it. Which also means that families have started using it for the many benefits it offers, especially when you consider the Google Home line of products.
This has revealed an understandable concern of parents’ that their children might be using Google Assistant a bit too aggressively. After all, just saying ‘Hey Google’ might seem to be a bit too direct, don’t you think? To address this, Assistant will now be able to pick up and reply politely whenever the query is asked followed by a ‘Please’.
This, as Google hopes, is a step in the right direction to ingrain good manners in children. A small addition, but a nice one indeed.
Better Third-Party Support
By the end of last year, the Google Assistant had managed to get 3rd-party support from some local as well as international businesses such as ebay & Starbucks. Now, that support is only going to get stronger.
At the demo presented at I/O, the assistant was able to seamlessly move in between third-party applets. This means that you’ll be able to contact businesses without ever leaving the Assistant home screen. Whether it’s ordering a latte from Starbucks, or changing the color of your smart home-lights, it’s gonna get easier than ever before.
Google also showcased how the Assistant will now be using the full-screen size of your phone to give you more information.
Make A Phone Call on Your Behalf!
While a great many of these are nice additions, one feature stands out in particular. The assistant can actually make calls on your behalf!
And no, we’re not talking about it being able to just dial a number. That has been present for quite some time. We’re talking full conversations between the Assistant itself and a person on the other end. The demo shown at I/O ’18 is still ways off from being actually rolled out, as Sundar Pichai noted that there’s still a lot of work to be done. Hear it for yourself:
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) May 8, 2018
It’s being called Google Duplex. It’s an AI system which is used to accomplish real-world tasks over the phone. While truly awesome, it’s also raised some security concerns. Some might say that this is the start of the Robots taking control away from us, Terminator style. While we don’t necessarily agree with that, we’re not questioning it either.
Either way, Google has shown that they are just scratching the surface of what they can do with AI. You can learn more about Duplex here.