Google Assistant Lets Device Makers Create Custom Actions
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.
Google Actions for Assistant Work Better Within Apps
Google today improved its Actions on the Google Assistant in several ways that should expand its reach and usability. To start, Actions on Google gain support for seven new languages (Hindi, Thai, Indonesian, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, and Dutch), making for a total of 16.
Google's Shopping Actions Make It Easy to Buy Stuff from Search Results
Google today announced its Shopping Actions program, a way for retailers to surface their products in search results and ensure those products are easy to purchase. Google is bringing Shopping Actions to Google Assistant and Google Search, which will include a universal shopping cart on mobile devices, desktops, and Google Home products.
Google Spreading Assistant to More Speakers and Smart Home Appliances
Google today said the Google Assistant will soon be available across a wider variety of devices. Google Assistant, the voice-powered helper, is already available on Android smartphones and smartwatches, and the Google Home speaker.
Google Opens Up Assistant and Home to 3rd-Party Apps
Google today made the necessary tools available that will let other companies build apps for Google Assistant and Google Home. The developer platform for Google Assistant is called Actions on Google.
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