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Third-party actions will soon work on Google Assistant on the phone

Third-party actions will soon work on Google Assistant on the phone


Eat your heart out, Alexa skills

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Until now, there hasn’t been an official way for apps and other third parties to integrate with the Google Assistant on the phone. That changed today at Google I/O, where it’s been announced that Google Actions will work on the phone — both Android and iPhone.

What it means is that Google now has a big advantage compared to Amazon Alexa when it comes to a possible install base for third-party developers. Actions created for the Google Home speaker should also work fine on phones, and there will be a lot of additional things developers can do now that they have full access to a screen for their chatbots.

For example, Google demoed ordering delivery from Panera — going through an entire ordering process via voice and tapping. Other actions will also be available, including a much wider array of smart home actions than we had before, when they were tied to specific Google partnerships.

Google has told me that for developers, creating skills won’t require targeting specific devices, rather they’ll have developers target specific capabilities. For example, a developer could say their action requires a screen and so it would work on phones but not the Home, or that it is designed to only work on a speaker. In any of those cases, it would work on future devices that have those features.