Google Assistant is one of Google’s most important products right now, so we were fully expecting some big announcements out of Google I/O this year. Despite that, I think Google still managed to impress us with just how much new stuff they’re adding to their AI.
To start with, Google is adding six new voice options to use as your personal assistant, including John Legend. These new voices are all significantly improved, putting them on par with “Holly,” the default voice that Google has been working on for a few years. But not only are the voices more natural, but your conversations will be, too; Google Assistant now supports conversational replies so you won’t have to say “Okay, Google” for every single request, and you can chain actions together that Google Assistant will contextually understand and carry out. You can ask Google to adjust your thermostat and start playing music, for instance, but it can also understand when you’re only asking for a single thing despite saying the word “and,” just like someone would in a real conversation.
For families and groups, Google Assistant has a few nifty features that drastically improve its functionality. If you have kids, for example, you can enforce kinder words and requests by making your children say “pretty please” when talking to Google to reinforce positive conversations. That ties into Family Link, which offers a ton of content for kids right inside of Google Assistant.
For the rest of us, Google Assistant is picking up some new tricks to make our lives significantly easier. Google Duplex is one of Google’s coolest new technologies, and they’re integrating it with Google Assistant to allow your phone to make phone calls to check on and make appointments for you. And no, I don’t mean you ask Google to dial a number and you make an appointment, I mean Google Assistant will make a call, ask questions, and set up an appointment without any extra input from you. It’s insane, but really, really cool.
Even without voice calling, you’ll soon be able to place food orders with Google Assistant at restaurants that support the feature. You can place and pay for an order without ever pulling up a separate app, and Google Assistant handles everything. You just have to go pick it up.
Google Assistant is shaping up to be incredibly cool, and by the end of this year it’s going to have a slew of amazing AI features. For everything else that Google is talking about, though, check out our full Google I/O 2018 coverage.