In this article, we’re looking at Google Assistant – basically an extension of Google Now, which you’ll find on a number of products including Google Home. What is it and how does it work?
Google Assistant: what is it?
Google Assistant is Google’s new attempt to create a virtual assistant. Assistant is described as an extension or even an upgrade of Google Now, the smart software that you can already use on Android tablets and smartphones. Since Apple introduced Siri in 2011, a new battle has erupted among major technology companies. Siri can help iOS owners with all kinds of daily tasks (alarm, weather, sports, etc.) and can approach a user personally. Google Now cannot do this yet.
But unlike Siri, Google Now can do a lot more with the data and apps on your smart device. Now may not be as personal as Siri, the app is much more comprehensive than its competitor and is deeply connected within Android. In 2014 Amazon, the online retail chain but also major tech company, introduced the Amazon Echo. This is a Bluetooth speaker for the home that is connected to Alexa, the company’s personal digital assistant. With this assistant it is possible to perform all kinds of tasks.
For example, Alexa can order an Uber or a pizza and control various devices in the house, provided they are connected to the same network. You can also ask questions that she can answer in a (reasonably) successful conversation. The Echo has therefore become such a huge product that Amazon is unable to maintain production levels, which means that stock is constantly draining. The company has also already released two new variants on the market – and Google must have seen that. That’s why the company announced Google Home during I / O 2016 .
Google explains that the assistant within Google Home is able to have a conversation with you. Assistant understands what you mean and helps you with the daily things that are important to you. For example, Google Assistant can help with buying tickets for the film and, based on that information, choose a nice tent to eat in advance. This can be done from home, but also on the road – you are even provided with navigation, if you deem necessary. The assistant thus works on multiple devices, of which Google Home is an important one.
Google Assistant: how does it work?
The most important thing about the assistant is that you can have a conversation with it. That means you can ask a question and then ask more questions based on those answers. Google Assistant is able to follow the conversation, find out the context and provide an audible response based on that information. It is currently clear that we are going to encounter the assistant in at least two products. The aforementioned Google Home, the Bluetooth speaker, and a new chat application that the company has announced: Allo.
Google Home is the smart speaker from Google that you can use as a central point for your smart home . You can use the speaker to operate your entertainment devices, manage everyday tasks and request things you want to know the answer to. Home can do all those things because the speaker comes with Assistant. Due to Google’s many years of experience with its search engine, the assistant is smart enough to determine the context of a question so that you will receive the correct answers quickly.
For example, when you ask “what’s on tonight,” Google Home will list a list of movies that are currently running in theaters. If you then indicate that you are ‘taking the children with you’, films will be listed that are suitable for children. If you then indicate that you want to ‘see’ The Jungle Book, for example, Assistant will buy the tickets for you. If you ask the device if the film is actually good, you will receive reviews, grades and even a trailer – at the moment nothing seems too crazy for the speaker.
Allo is a new chat application from Google. It will be a complete experience where you can chat with your friends and bots and use emoji, stickers and more. Thanks to the integration of Google Assistant, the experience can become interactive, in the form of bots, as you can also find in Facebook Messenger, for example. You can ask a question by recording or typing it and if you are not satisfied with the answer, you can also ask follow-up questions here. You can also give the bot specific tasks.
Google Home and Google Assistant can thus become a central point in your smart home. That goes beyond setting an alarm or keeping a shopping list. The speaker supports the most popular smart home networks, so you can also control your doors, lamps and, for example, windows from one point (even Google Nest). Google still has to make sure that agreements are made with major manufacturers, suppliers and more to ensure that the assistant is really useful.
Google Assistant: when can I use it?
Google has announced that Google Assistant will be released sometime ‘in the summer’, but has not released a further hard release date. It is also not yet clear whether Assistant will replace Google Now or whether Now will continue to exist (and will be integrated into Assistant) and we do not yet know which products, networks and services are supported. In comparison, Amazon has currently closed deals with Uber, Dominos, Philips, Belkin, IFTTT and more, so you really use the speaker often.