Your Google Home with the Google Assistant can do some really cool things, but it’s about to get a lot better. Here we’ll go over all the ways the Google Assistant is improving and getting smarter in 2018.
The Google Assistant had a lot to say this year at Google’s annual IO developer event. In fact, now it can say things with six new voices. One of those includes the popular musician John Legend’s own voice.
We’re not talking about making phone calls with your Google Home or using it as a speaker. Instead, Google just unveiled a slew of cool new features coming to the Google Assistant. Features that will make it smarter, better, feel more natural and even help your kids have better manners.
New Features Coming to Google Assistant
- Adding 6 New Voices
- Make Phone Calls For You
- Pretty Please (Good Manners)
- Custom Routines
- More Conversational
- Order Food for Delivery or Takeout
- Supports More Device Categories
Google Assistant Gets 6 New Voices
Not only will the Assistant be more conversational, but Google just announced six new voices for its AI Assistant. That brings the total to eight different voices you can talk to, with, and communicate daily. Now, you’ll be able to have a natural back and forth conversation with your Google Assistant in a voice that’s soft, and comforting.
Until today we only had two different voices to choose from. A male, and a female listed as Voice II in the Google Home and Assistant apps. Soon, you’ll get to choose one of eight different voices, and one of those is John Legend. The video above gives you a quick preview of how they all sound. Can you guess which one is the musician?
Better yet, each Home device or specific users account can choose the voice they want.
Google Assistant Will Make Phone Calls For You
Perhaps the most exciting (and scary) feature coming to the Assistant is that it can make phone calls for you. Google’s artificial intelligence is getting smarter by the day, and that’s more apparent than ever with this latest feature.
Google showed off two demos on stage where the Google Assistant made a phone call for its user. To get a hair appointment, and to make dinner reservations. The amazing thing about these demos is how conversational, adaptable, and understanding the Assistant is.
The dinner reservation was extremely impressive, as the Assistant had to understand someone with a strong accent. Then, repeat what day and what time the reservation was over and over again. Google’s AI was calm, composed, friendly, and eventually finished the task.
These phones calls happen for you, behind the scenes, thanks to the power of Google Duplex, and the Google Assistant. We’re excited to try this later in 2018 and see how well it does or doesn’t work.
Pretty Please (Teach Your Kid Manners)
With Siri, Alexa, and the Google Assistant some people are worried that children are becoming bossy. Just blurting our requests to these virtual companions. That’s why Google announced a new feature coming later this summer called “Pretty Please”.
The idea here is to strive towards a more friendly and polite household, conversation, and lifestyle. When a kid asks the Google Home or Assistant something, using words like please and thank you will be understood, appreciated, and rewarded. Your Google Home will reply with, “thanks for asking nicely” then issue the command. Once you turn on pretty please if kids don’t use the right manners, your Google Home will reply with “what’s the magic word?” after being asked a question.
This summer you’ll be able to enable “pretty please” on any Google Home or third-party smart speaker.
Google Home & Assistant Routines
Earlier this year Google debuted Routines for the Assistant. The idea here is that one command will allow your Assistant or Google Home to simultaneously do multiple tasks. Tell your device “I’m Home” and it’ll turn on the lights, set the temperature, turn on your TV, or even start a music playlist. All in succession.
When Routines first launched we only had the option to use a few pre-designed routines from Google. Starting May 8th you can completely customize your own Routines as you see fit. This is a powerful and helpful feature that will make the Google Assistant much better.
A More Conversational Assistant
If you’re like me you hate using the hotword “Ok, Google” or “Hey, Google” over and over again to interact with the Assistant or your smart speakers. That’s why Google just made a huge change to make conversations easier, smooth, and more conversational.
The Google Assistant will now keep listening for up to 8 seconds after you give it a command. That way you don’t have to continuously repeat the Ok Google keyword. The Assistant will understand when you’re talking to it versus someone else and will respond accordingly. We’re hearing this will be available on all devices in the coming weeks.
Order Food With the Google Assistant
Soon, you’ll be able to order takeout or delivery right inside the Google Assistant. Better yet, the app will remember what you usually order, and suggest it to you, making the entire process easy and fast.
We’ve been able to order select items for a while now, but this takes it a step further. Giving you the option for takeout or delivery, and remembering popular items. Then, partners like Starbucks will integrate with the Assistant to streamline everything.
“Hey Google, order my usual from Starbucks.” and the Assistant will fire up the Starbucks app, order your usual, then give you a confirmation and pickup time.
Support for More Devices
In closing, the Google Assistant and Google Home are getting support for a lot more smart home devices. Right now, it can control lights, thermostats, your refrigerator and a few other things. In the future, you’ll be able to do a lot more, with a lot more things.
Now, seven new device types are being added to the native controls in Assistant. Those seven devices are: air conditioning units, air purifiers, coffee makers, fans, kettles, ovens, and sprinklers. All I really care about here is being able to say, “Ok Google, make my coffee in 10 minutes” to get my morning joe.
Previously, A/C units were listed as thermostats inside the Google Home app, but that’s about to change. This gives users and developers alike more options with these seven types of devices. This gives us direct integration for more smart home products, which makes everything easier.
Basically, Google Assistant and Google Home are getting smarter, friendlier, learning good manners, and making life easier. We’ll update as these features are released or roll out.