Google today announced a series of new features for Google Assistant, Google Photos, and the Android operating system at its I/O developer conference. For the developers creating third-party voice app experiences for Google Assistant on the Actions on Google platform, a series of new tools and services are also being made available.
To build the conversational AI behind Google Assistant (and it’s search engine), Google spent years working to understand exactly what a user wants to accomplish based on the words they use. People can find hundreds of different ways to the same thing, something developers working with conversational interfaces must take into account.
The taxonomy of different intents is being mapped by Google and shared with developers to improve how their voice app understands the words people use with a new feature called built-in intents.
“We’ll be rolling out hundreds of built-in intents in the coming months,” Google product manager Brad Abrams said onstage during the developer keynote address at annual developer conference I/O.
Routine suggestions are also due out later this year. Routines were first introduced in March and allow people using Google Assistant to carry out multiple tasks with a single utterance. For example, say “OK Google, I’m home” and you can turn on the lights, start a podcast, and hear your reminders. Custom routines were introduced for users today, as were Routine suggestions.
“After somebody engages with your action you can prompt them to add your action to their routine with just a couple of taps,” Abrams said.
Another new feature added today for voice app developers is Action links, a URL to share a voice app anywhere on the web. When a user clicks the link, it brings them into an experience with your voice app inside Google Assistant. Each app’s link can be found in the Actions on Google console starting today.
Many efforts have been rolled out to support developers making voice apps for Google Assistant. To support a fledgling voice developer ecosystem, last week Google announced the opening of an investment fund to support voice AI startups like Pulse Labs and Edwin.
Google Assistant is now available in 16 languages. To spread its voice experience around the world, around the same time, VP Nick Fox said Google is committed to bringing Google Assistant to more than 30 languages by the end of 2018, a feat that would put it ahead of competitors like Alexa that only speak English, German, and Japanese today — and one that would put Google’s AI assistant in the hands of 95 percent of Android smartphone users.
In February, Google for the first time began to bring together experiences between its Android app ecosystem and its Actions on Google voice app ecosystem. The Actions on Google platform first launched in December 2016.
Daily updates and push notifications for Actions on Google were first introduced this spring for a limited number of developers or partners. The delivery of notifications on Home smart speakers will be rolled out for developers in the coming months, a company spokesperson told VentureBeat.