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Google Assistant

Google Assistant is a virtual personal assistant developed by Google and announced at its developer conference in May 2016. Unlike Google Now, the Google Assistant can engage in two-way conversations.

Google Assistant
Google Assistant logo.svg
Google Assistant on the Pixel smartphone
Google Assistant on the Pixel smartphone
Operating system Android, iOS, and Android Wear
Available in English (US, UK, Australia, Canada, Ireland and Singapore), German, Korean, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese and Portuguese (Brazil).
Website assistant.google.com

Assistant initially debuted as part of Google's messaging app Allo, and its voice-activated speaker Google Home. After a period of exclusivity on the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, it began to be deployed on other Android devices in February 2017, including third-party smartphones and Android Wear, and was released as a standalone app on the iOS operating system in May. Alongside the announcement of a software development kit in April 2017, the Assistant has been, and is being, further extended to support a large variety of devices, including cars and smart home appliances. The functionality of the Assistant can also be enhanced by third-party developers.

Users primarily interact with the Google Assistant through natural voice, though keyboard input is also supported. In the same nature and manner as Google Now, the Assistant is able to search the Internet, schedule events and alarms, adjust hardware settings on the user's device, and show information from the user's Google account. Google has also announced that the Assistant will be able to identify objects and gather visual information through the device's camera, and support purchasing products and sending money. In it's numerous new features, it can identify the song currently being played and the Assistant will provide complete information about the song, including title, artist, lyrics, through Google Play Music, YouTube links, and any third party apps installed on device.

Contents

HistoryEdit

The Google Assistant was unveiled during Google's developer conference on May 18, 2016, as part of the unveiling of the Google Home smart speaker and new messaging app Allo; Google CEO Sundar Pichai explained that the Assistant was designed to be a conversational and two-way experience, and "an ambient experience that extends across devices".[1] Later that month, Google assigned Google Doodle leader Ryan Germick and hired former Pixar animator Emma Coats to develop "a little more of a personality."[2] On August 23, 2017, Walmart announced plans to bring support to Google Assistant to order items from walmart.com using the Google Express service.[3] This is in addition to other stores available on Google Express, such as Target, Costco, and Best Buy.[4]

Platform expansionEdit

For system-level integration outside of the Allo app and Google Home, the Google Assistant was initially exclusive to the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones.[5] In February 2017, Google announced that it had begun to enable access to the Assistant on Android smartphones running Android Marshmallow or Nougat, beginning in select English-speaking markets.[6][7] Android tablets will not be receiving the Assistant as part of this rollout.[8][9] The Assistant is also integrated in Android Wear 2.0,[10] and will be included in future versions of Android TV[11][12] and Android Auto.[13] Google Assistant later came to the Google Pixel Buds.

On May 15, 2017, Android Police reported that the Google Assistant would be coming to the iOS operating system as a separate app.[14] The information was confirmed two days later at Google's developer conference.[15][16]

Developer supportEdit

In December 2016, Google launched "Actions on Google", a developer platform for the Google Assistant. Actions on Google further enhances the Assistant user experience by enabling developers to bring their services to the Assistant.[17][18] In March 2017, Google added new tools for developing on Actions on Google to support the creation of games for the Google Assistant.[19] Originally limited to the Google Home smart speaker, Actions on Google was made available to Android and iOS devices in May 2017,[20][21] at which time Google also introduced an app directory for overview of compatible products and services.[22] To incentivize developers to build Actions, Google announced a competition in which it will select winners based on categories, including "Best app by students" and "Best life hack." Winners will be announced by Google, and first place wins tickets to Google's 2018 developer conference, $10,000, and a walk-through of Google's campus, while second place and third place receive $7,500 and $5,000, respectively, and Google Home.[23]

In April 2017, a software development kit (SDK) was released, allowing third-party developers to build their own hardware that can run the Google Assistant.[24][25] It has been integrated into Raspberry Pi,[26][27] cars from Audi and Volvo,[28][29] and smart home appliances, including fridges, washers, and ovens, from companies including iRobot, LG, General Electric, and D-Link.[30][31][32]

InteractionEdit

 
Google Assistant on the Pixel XL phone

The Google Assistant, in the nature and manner of Google Now, can search the Internet, schedule events and alarms, adjust hardware settings on the user's device, and show information from the user's Google account. Unlike Google Now, however, the Assistant can engage in a two-way conversation, using Google's natural language processing algorithm. Search results are presented in a card format that users can tap to open the page.[33] The Google Assistant can maintain a shopping list; this was previously done within the notetaking service Google Keep, but the feature was moved to Google Express and the Google Home app in April 2017, resulting in a severe loss of functionality.[34][35]

In May 2017, Google announced that the Assistant would support a keyboard for typed input and visual responses,[36][37] support identifying objects and gather visual information through the device's camera,[38][39] and support purchasing products[40][41] and sending money.[42][43] Through the use of the keyboard, users can see a history of queries made to the Google Assistant, and edit or delete previous inputs. The Assistant warns against deleting, however, due to its use of previous inputs to generate better answers in the future.[44]

ReceptionEdit

PC World's Mark Hachman gave a favorable review of the Google Assistant, saying that it was a "step up on Cortana and Siri."[45]

Supported devicesEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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  2. ^ de Looper, Christian (May 31, 2016). "Google wants to make its next personal assistant more personable by giving it a childhood". Digital Trends. Retrieved March 17, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Walmart, Google Join Forces In Online Fight Against Amazon". NPR.org. Retrieved 2017-08-23. 
  4. ^ "Target is joining forces with Google to take on Amazon". 12 October 2017. Retrieved 15 November 2017. 
  5. ^ Savov, Vlad (October 4, 2016). "Pixel 'phone by Google' announced". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved March 17, 2017. 
  6. ^ Bohn, Dieter (February 26, 2017). "The Google Assistant is coming to Marshmallow and Nougat Android phones starting this week". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved March 17, 2017. 
  7. ^ Lunden, Ingrid (February 26, 2017). "Google Assistant, its AI-based personal helper, rolls out to Nougat and Marshmallow handsets". TechCrunch. AOL. Retrieved March 17, 2017. 
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  24. ^ Amadeo, Ron (April 27, 2017). "The Google Assistant SDK will let you run the Assistant on anything". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Retrieved April 28, 2017. 
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