Google Assistant is getting beefed up to further enhance the lives of its users. Google on Tuesday offered a preview of several upcoming Google Assistant features that will gradually make their way to Google Assistant-powered devices over the coming weeks and months. The company showcased the next-generation Google Assistant, Assistant driving mode, Assistant support in Waze, a more personal Assistant, and more. Additionally, Google also revealed that it is bringing Assistant's Duplex feature to the Web, thereby helping users complete even more mundane tasks online.
Starting with Google's next-generation Assistant, the upcoming improved Google Assistant will stop relying on Google's data centres for computing needs but will instead bring the speech recognition and language understanding models to users' phones to make everything superfast.
In a blog post, Google noted that by running on-device, the next-generation Google Assistant will be able to process and understand users in almost real-time and respond up to 10 times faster than right now.
“You can multitask across apps—so creating a calendar invite, finding and sharing a photo with your friends, or dictating an email is faster than ever before,” Google explained. “And with Continued Conversation, you can make several requests in a row without having to say “Hey Google” each time.”
The next-generation Google Assistant will first be available on new Pixel phones later this year. Older Pixel devices and third-party Android devices will get it on a later stage.
Apart from making Assistant superfast on mobile devices, Google also revealed that it is improving the Assistant's understanding of people around us. Called Personal References, the new feature will enable the users ask queries like “What's the weather like at mom's house this weekend?” and Assistant will recognise the reference to "mom's house" in the query and respond accordingly.
“For a digital assistant to be helpful, it needs to understand the people, places and events that are important to you,” Google stated. “In the coming months, the Assistant will be able to better understand references to all of these through Personal References.”
In order to give users control over their personal information, Google will allow them to add, edit or remove details from the “You” tab in Assistant settings at any time.
Additionally, Google is also bringing a “Picks for you” feature in Assistant on smart displays. Set to debut this summer, the feature will offer users with personalised suggestions around recipes, podcasts, and events.
Further, Google will be adding Assistant support to Waze over the coming weeks and bringing a new driving mode on mobile devices.
“We want to make sure drivers are able to do everything they need with just voice, so we've designed a voice-forward dashboard that brings your most relevant activities—like navigation, messaging, calling and media—front and centre," Google said.
The driving mode will also offer personalised suggestions, support full voice control, and more. The driving mode will be available this summer on Android phones.
Another useful new feature coming to Google Assistant is remote vehicle control. Over the coming weeks, Assistant will let the car owners control their vehicles remotely. Basically, they will be able to turn on car AC before leaving their home or office, and more. The feature will initially be available to existing car models that work with Hyundai's “Blue Link” and Mercedes-Benz's “Mercedes me connect.”
Last year, Google showcased an interesting new Assistant feature in the form of Duplex, which allowed users to make restaurant reservations over the phone. Now, Google is bringing the feature to the Web. The Assistant users will be able to make rental car booking and movie ticket bookings using Duplex.
“Often when you book things online, you have to navigate a number of pages, pinching and zooming to fill out all the forms,” Google remarked. "With the Assistant powered by Duplex on the Web, you can complete these tasks much faster since it fills out complex forms for you.”
With a simple command like “Book a car with National for my next trip,” the consumers will be able to trigger Duplex and it will figure out the rest. Duplex on the Web will be coming later this year in English in the US and UK on Android phones.
Lastly, Google is removing the need to say “Hey Google” to stop a timer or alarm on Google Home speakers and Smart Displays in English-speaking countries globally starting today.