Google has introduced a number of new features aimed at making its integrated Google Assistant much more useful, in a range of circumstances.
Google unveiled a range of impressive new features for their Assistant at the Google Developer Days keynote. Particularly interesting was the new contextual awareness shown by their Assistant app.
The updated app will now attempt to answer your vaguest questions by assessing a range of criteria. In keynote video below, you can see Behshad Behzadi, Director of Conversational Search, exhibiting the apps ability to grasp context. (I’ve included timed links if you want to skip to the best bits!)
In the example (49:21), Behzadi asks for “pictures of Thomas,” and lo, pictures of Thomas the Tank Engine appear. He then changes tact, asking for the Bayern Munich team roster, including Thomas Muller. Behzadi then repeats his initial request for “pictures of Thomas,” and Thomas Müller is the first picture returned.
Another example (41:10) is one we’re all familiar with: something on the tip of your tongue, be that a song, movie, or video game. Behzadi asks “What is the name of the movie where Tom Cruise acts in it, and he plays pool, and while he plays pool he dances?” Google Assistant nails it first time, reeling off The Color of Money, with a bunch more information.
But perhaps the best Assistant update of all is a new translation feature (42:10). All you need to do now is ask “Ok, Google, be my [insert language] translator,” and Assistant will repeat your words in the requested language. Alongside the translation update will be better Google Lens integration. For instance, it will bring relevant contextual information to your camera in real-time.
This update is an excellent step forward for Google at a time when Microsoft Cortana and Amazon Alexa are forming partnerships for the future, and Samsung Bixby continues to flounder. While Amazon focus on making Alexa friendlier to its rivals and other third-party services, Google is focusing one thing: self-reliance.
What is your favorite digital assistant? Do you stick with Google Assistant, or do you use a range of apps? Is the new contextual features update intriguing? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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