Google Assistant gets slew of new features, better 3rd party integration

Google Assistant gets slew of new features, better 3rd party integration

Today Google Assistant Custom Device Actions were announced by the company as just the latest in a line of expansions to its voice assistant ecosystem. Google will allow developers of Actions to plug into digital purchases including paid app purchases, in-app purchases, in-app subscriptions and the likes.

Lastly, Google Assistant also now allows you to ask for periodic notifications from apps that support Actions, such as Forbes' "Quote of the Day".

Meanwhile, expanded notification features for Assistant Actions are now out of beta. For example, you can tell Assistant you want a daily update on cryptocurrency prices from SpeedyBit. Once the update is official a user will be able to record and send a 30 sec video message if and when the recipient is not picking up the call or declines the call for some odd reason.

Assistant has long supported subscribing to certain tidbits of information, in fact, it was one of the original demo features in the Allo version of Assistant. Under the Android Go banner, we've already seen YouTube Go, Google Maps Go, and even a brand new service called Files Go meant to clear up storage space on your device. New features like TV show clips, relaxation sounds, news briefings, interactive stories, and more will be available.

If you find yourself using Google Assistant frequently, you may have realized that there's a lot it can do within the realm of general instructions like "raise the room temperature", or "turn on the lights" that don't particularly require intermediary support from the connected third-party appliance or program.

Image Google Blog
Image Google Blog

Assistant Actions now support something Google is calling "Custom Device Actions". Voice commands can be used to pause or replay media, and a media player will appear on your phone.

Google has opened up a "Fun House" in Austin, Texas for South by Southwest where they're presumably showing off all these cool new features, so if you're in the area head over and check them out. Now you can say a more specific command such as "Ok Google, set the oven to convection and preheat to 350-degrees".

Most of the new features are available to Actions developers starting today. You wouldn't have to say "Talk to X" before issuing a complex custom command.

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