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

Google Assistant Commands

While on its own the Google Assistant isn't there just yet, with some creative makers and developers, it's well on its way.

An abundance of user actions can be found in Google's latest updates to "What it can do".

Google today introduced a series of new features for its Actions on Google platform for third-party voice apps, including a new browsing carousel to showcase content and greater control over the kind of audio an action can play. New Actions on Google for developers mean new Assistant features for everyone. Until recently, device makers big and small had to use the same Google Assistant regardless of whether they were making the Assistant work with phones, fridges or lights. Google uses the instance of turning on a connected oven.

Amazon's Alexa may have more "skills" and connect with more services, but when it comes to artificial intelligence smarts, Google Assistant has the competition beat (sorry Siri, it isn't even close). Users can turn off the phone screen and still listen to the audio.

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The Media Playback controls will enable content creators to allow access to a range of new media beyond the podcasts and music controls we've seen previously with support for "TV shows, interactive stories, meditation, relaxing sounds, and news briefings" being added.

Google goes a step further, demonstrating Assistant's new abilities with a custom-built robotic arm that follows Google Assistant's instructions to sort socks, and even a custom beer ordering system built into a sofa. Additionally, users can now use voice commands to pause or replay media. TV shows like The Daily Show will have segments available for playback and general show information. For example, you can tell Assistant you want a daily update on cryptocurrency prices from CoinBase. Esquire and Forbes are some of the websites that have added the new functionality. For example, if a washer has a specific color cycle, you could activate that cycle simply by asking the Google Assistant. But before you get around to saying that, you'd have to also tell the assistant, "Talk to Todoist".

Most of the new features are available to Actions developers starting today.

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