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Google Assistant Gets a Host of New Features, Brings Developer Support for Indian English

Google Assistant Gets a Host of New Features, Brings Developer Support for Indian English
  • Google Assistant gets new enhancements for third-party apps
  • Google has added international languages for native apps
  • A speaker-to-phone transfer feature makes experience more interactive

Google has released a list of new features for the Google Assistant app to make it a better option against Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri. The search giant has also enabled developers to build their apps with support for Google Assistant in a new languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Indian English.

Among the other changes, the Explore tab in the Google Assistant app is now receiving 'What's New' and 'What's Trending' sections to enhance the mobile app directory functionality of the virtual assistant. These dynamic sections will provide developers with the way to get discovered by users in all supported locales where the Google Assistant and Actions on Google are available, including Australia, Canada, US, and the UK. Additionally, there is autocomplete feature in the search box of the app directory to help users easily find their required apps.

To segregate apps within the app directory, Google Assistant will now have subcategories. For instance, the existing 'Food & Drink' category that includes all the apps related to food and drinks will now have subcategories like 'Order Food' and 'View a Menu'. Google is considering app description and sample invocations to map users' natural search queries to the new subcategories.

Google Assistant is also receiving implicit discovery support that will let users access third-party apps from Google Assistant by using contextual queries. For example, you can access an app to repair your bike by saying "book an appointment to fix my bike". This feature is widely available on Alexa, you need to enable skills particular to your apps to access them directly from Echo speakers.

App developers have been provided with a new discovery section on the developer console to help them improve the implicit discovery of their apps on Google Assistant. Furthermore, they can make some alterations to create precise action invocation phrases for their apps just from contextual queries.

As third-party apps are appeared to be the next big thing for Google Assistant, Google is also set to start showing a new 'For Families' badge that will help users find apps that are appropriate for all ages - suitable for all family members.

Localising and adding international support is also something that Google needs to add to its Assistant to make it a compelling option. Therefore, international languages like Spanish and Indian English are coming specifically for apps and Actions on Google. Developers in the UK have also been provided with transactional capabilities to give payment features through their apps on Google Assistant.

Similarly, Google is making the user experience on its Assistant more interactive to bring its domination into the world of smart speakers. There are tweaks such as the ability to switch from a speaker to phone and a quick response following a 'cancel' command.

Google Assistant is also receiving features such as daily updates and push notifications to let developers enhance user engagements on their apps. Google has also developed a directory analytics to help developers understand how the users access their apps through the virtual assistant.

The new features emerge a couple of days after Google Assistant got the ability to broadcast messages to compatible speakers. Google also recently added a Daily Subscription feature to its Assistant app to let users receive regular weather updates, quotes, videos, and tips.


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Further reading: Google Assistant, Google, Apps, Internet
Jagmeet Singh writes about consumer technology for Gadgets 360, out of New Delhi. Jagmeet is a senior reporter for Gadgets 360, and has frequently written about apps, computer security, Internet services, and telecom developments. Jagmeet is available on Twitter at @JagmeetS13 or Email at jagmeets@ndtv.com. Please send in your leads and tips. More
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