Google updates Assistant with new features and languages

Google has announced a bunch of new updates coming to Assistant today that should make it possible for developers to make more functional applications that better integrate with your Google Assistant devices.

One of the biggest additions is support for new languages. Developers will now be able to write apps in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Indian English.

Another major update is the ability for developers to create applications that take advantage of having both a Google Home and a phone with Assistant, allowing Home devices to hand off requests to smartphones for completion of actions (like, say, paying for a sandwich you ordered on your Home). Google will also allow apps to recognize implicit requests, so that you don’t have to specifically call them out by name. It’s the difference between saying “turn off the lights” and “have the Philips Hue app turn off the lights.”

Lastly, Google is making it easier for users to find new apps for Assistant. Instead of the hodgepodge of apps that are presented now, the Assistant companion app is getting “What's new” and “What's trending” sections to help surface recent and popular integrations.

In other Assistant-related news 9to5Google is reporting it seems that Google has quietly updated the Nexus Player — the original Android TV device, released in 2014 — with support for Google Assistant, too. So if you’re still using one of those, enjoy!

The new updates to Assistant covered here (along with some other, more minor features that Google details in its blog post) should be rolling out now, although it may take developers some time to integrate the new features into their apps.

Comments

No word on routines? Being able to just say "goodbye" and have it turn off lights, TV, heat would be great.

that exists already in Google Assistant.
Go to the Google Assistant Setting and in the "Shortcuts Menu" you can set all kinds of routines.

As far as I know the shortcuts can only trigger one action. Routines will allow one word to trigger multiple actions across devices. I have looked at the shortcuts and dont see that it is possible currently.

My bad, misunderstood what you meant.
That would be a very convenient feature though!

Workaround is IFTTT

Routines are different (and more complex) than the current shortcut functionality. With routines, a single command can trigger a series of commands/actions, instead of just one like it is today. They’ve been mentioned a lot and the Google App keeps adding functionality to support it (like this), but it’s not live yet.

Sounds like they may support event triggers as well: "However, it won’t just be commands that can launch a routine, events will also be watched. Judging by new text, Google Assistant will be able to react when you dismiss an alarm."

They did announce routines during the event last month. Not sure when it’ll roll out.

It’s the difference between saying "turn off the lights" and "have the Philips Hue app turn off the lights."

Um I already just say turn off my lights and my hue lights turn off. Ive been doing that since release.

I think more importantly it looks like soon we might be able to use assistant with its biggest feature, holding a conversation. Like if I ask a question it still listens and remembers what we are talking about

Lights was a bad example, this will expand it to other apps and functionality where it implicitly infers what app can do the task you’re requesting: "Implicit discovery is when a user is connected to your app using contextual queries (e.g., "book an appointment to fix my bike"), as opposed to calling for your app by name."

And this is why the Assistant is gonna win with Alexa in the long run: Google already has some sort of voice recognition for practically every language (of a developed country) in the world. Amazon has to start from scratch.

Developers will now be able to write apps in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Indian English

What? You meant:

Developers will now be able to write apps that could understand Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Indian English

Does this mean it can now speak in those languages? Or just listen for them.

It can already speak and listen for many more languages. It can read my Norwegian calendar entries just fine, and google keyboard does a pretty good job of speech to text writing. I doubt it understands it very well yet, but the foundation to expand to many more languages is there. I guess they want to expand in functionality to keep up with Amazon first, and that is probably a wise decision.

Is there a full list of all the languages Google Assistant supports now? Can it listen for multiple languages? Can it respond in the language that the question is asked in or does it only respond in the default language (or first ranked language in list of languages)?

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