Google Assistant gets new calling, routine and conversational capabilities

Google Assistant gets new calling, routine and conversational capabilities
Google has announced major feature updates for its AI assistant at the annual developer event Google I/O 2018, as the assistant can now make phone reservations at a restaurant, execute multiple automation commands and understand more complex questions.

Google Assistant can now make phone calls on behalf of users. When users ask the assistant via text or voice to make reservations at a restaurant that doesn’t take online reservation, Google Assistant will ask the time slot and how many people are going, and then dial to do a phone reservation.

As Google presented at a keynote speech, the assistant is able to talk like a real person with people on the other side of the phone.

Duplex, the name of the technology, will be released in a beta test. Only a limited group of people will get access to the new trick. Google said it wants to proceed more slowly with the new technology.

Custom routines become available

Google launched routines for Google Assistant this March, which enables homeowners to execute a series of automation actions with one single command. However, there are only six options for users – good morning, bedtime, leaving home, I’m home, commuting to work and commuting home.

Now Google allows homeowners to create customized routines, which can be triggered by any chosen phases, and be composed of any automation commands they choose. For instance, homeowners may create a routine to play music, inform traffic update and start a coffee maker, all in one go.

More conversational assistant

Google Assistant will now listen continuously for eight seconds after a user has voiced one command, so users now don’t have to repeat the phrase “Hey Google” or “Ok Google.”

The assistant is also improved when it comes to conversational understanding. It can now understand multiple and complicated questions that users ask in one sentence.

Google provided an example on the stage. “Hey Google, who was the governor of California when Kevin Durant was drafted and what team drafted him?” The assistant responded, “Arnold Schwarzenegger was the governor in 2007. Kevin Durant was drafted by the Seattle Super Sonics.”

Google also announced that devices with Smart Displays, which will be working with Google Assistant, will be available in July. Companies including LG, Sony, Lenovo and JBL will launch products with the Smart Displays, which will be competing with the Echo Show and the Echo Spot.

In addition, Google Home will soon be available in seven new countries – Denmark, South Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden.

In a recent announcement before the Google I/O, the company said the number of Google Assistant-compatible devices has reached 5,000.
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