Google made multiple major announcements related to future of the Google Assistant on day one of the Google I/O Developers Conference in Mountain View, California. The upcoming features will include new voices, the ability to continue conversations, a feature to teach good manners to kids and Assistant making calls on behalf of the user. “Our vision for the perfect assistant is that it’s naturally conversational, it’s there when you need it so that you can get things done in the real world,” CEO Sundar Pichai said talking about upcoming features to Assistant. Here’s everything that’s coming to Google Assistant this year.
Google Assistant is getting a more natural sounding voice, complete with pitch, pace and pauses. In fact, Assistant will get six new voices including male and female, and one based off singer John Legend’s voice. “Our goal is, one day, to get the accents, languages, and dialects right globally,” said Pichai.
One of the top features to hit the Assistant will be continued conversations. This means users can now keep a conversation going with Assistant without repeating, “Hey Google,” to every follow-up query. This feature will roll out in “coming weeks”.
Google is adding new “pretty please” feature that teaches kids to be kind and use polite words. The Assistant will respond with positive reinforcement saying “thank you” to kids for saying please and will call out when the kids have ask for something nicely. This might help them learn to not demand things from their Assistant.
Smart Displays/Visual Assistance
Google’s first Smart Displays powered by the Assistant will be available for sale in July. Google has partnered with several OEMs like JBL, LG, and Lenovo. With the displays, you will be able to watch live streams, control your smart home, and make video calls using Google Duo.
The Assistant also gets a revamped look and experience on the phones. It will now act more like Google Now and shows information in a full-screen page when a question is asked. The Smart Home Requests will also show up on the smartphone’ screen. Google also announced its partnerships with multiple food retailer chains like Starbucks, Domino’s and Dunkin’ Donuts and users can ask for “usual order” and Assistant will pull up their last order.
One of the amazing features of Assistant demoed at I/O conference was Google Duplex, which showed that Assistant would be able to make phones calls for us. The live demo Google conducted showed Assistant making a phone call and carrying out a conversation to book a haircut appointment. This calling technology called Duplex has the ability to respond naturally to a conversation by using complex sentences, fast speech and long remarks.
Google Assistant will soon help you navigate within Google Maps “so you can get information while keeping your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road”. The integration within Maps will allows users to use voice commands to trigger actions such as play music, send texts and get information without leaving the navigation screen to avoid distraction when driving.
These new features will roll out later this summer, though Google has said some of the features like the Duplex are still in testing phase.