Google has launched a major redesign of its Assistant experience on smartphones. While the virtual assistant is primarily focused on voice, the tech giant says that nearly half of Google Assistant interactions utilise both voice and touch. With the latest makeover, Google wants Assistant to be easier to control "whether you prefer to use your hands, your voice, or a combination of the two." Besides that, Google has also announced support for digital goods and subscriptions, and Google Sign-In for the Assistant.
With the Google Assistant redesign, now when you send a query, you will be able to interact with images, sliders, and buttons. Google, in a blog post, mentioned all the changes that have arrived as a part of the Google Assistant makeover. The voice assistant now comes with bigger visuals "that are easy to glance quickly." It will showcase new controls and sliders that will help users in managing their smart home devices. For instance, you can use dials to adjust your lights to the required brightness, or the sliders to control the volume of your smart speaker.
Apart from the aesthetic upgrades in Google Assistant, there are some functional ones as well. The Google Assistant brings an interactive messaging interface, with which people can use their fingers to add a comma, change a word, or make any other quick edits while composing messages. Additionally, it is now easier to access an overview of the day on Android smartphones. The assistant will show curated information based on the time of day and your recent interactions with the Assistant when you swipe up.
Meanwhile, developers and brands now have tools that let them make full use of the phone's display. From thumbnails of recommended items to larger images of recipes, the Google Assistant will now show bold new visuals and more engaging cards with larger images. Brands can also insert GIFs to showcase their content.
Google is also making it a bit easier for developers to create a seamless path for users to make purchases. A separate post on the Google Developers Blog noted the changes that the Google Assistant update brings for developers. Earlier, the developers could only sell physical goods through their Assistant actions. But now, they will also be able to sell digital goods, including one time purchases like upgrades and recurring subscriptions directly within Action.
Users will be able to complete these transactions while in conversation with the developers' Actions through speakers, phones, and Smart Displays. Google noted that this feature will initially be supported in the US, with availability in more regions "coming soon".
In order to sync the sale of digital goods directly in the Assistant to sync across various applications, Google has also launched a new sign-in service for the assistant. Google Sign-In for the Assistant is "a secure authentication method that simplifies account linking for your users and reduces user drop off for login," Tarun Jain, Group PM, Actions on Google says in the blog post. Additionally, with Google Sign-In users can use their voice to login and link accounts on smart speakers with the Assistant. Notably, all of these upgrades to Google Assistant should be making their way to your smartphones in the next few days.