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Google Assistant Lets Device Makers Create Custom Actions

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Mar 9, 2018, 10:53 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper

Google today introduced new Custom Device Actions for Google Assistant that will give devices native functionality specific to their hardware. Custom Device Actions build on the Assistant's existing Actions tool for issuing specific commands. Google says, for example, washing machines that include Google Assistant will let owners ask the machine to activate specific wash cycles simply by asking. Google is showcasing some of these new customized actions at the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin this week, including a machine that sorts socks and a beer-ordering system. Google isn't stopping there. Assistant is gaining more functionality. For example, people will be able to subscribe to notifications via Actions. For example, Assistant can alert people to changes in stock prices in real time, or help them subscribe and then listen to Forbes' quote of the day. Moving forward, Google Assistant includes better media playback controls. Actions will support media playback on speakers and Android phones, meaning people will be able to pause or replay audio with simple voice requests. When using a phone, Actions will display a media player when listening to mediation sessions, relaxing sounds, or clips from TV shows. For example, Google says the new Daily Show Action lets people listen to the latest show and control playback via voice commands. Last, Assistant gains access to more brand-based Actions. Brands that have added the ability to interact via voice queries include American Idol, The Mindfulness App, and more. People will be able to launch and control these apps and/or experiences via Google Assistant on their home speaker or phone. Google says these new Actions for Google Assistant are rolling out over the next few days.

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