Google Assistant adds Messages integration, Actions for Android Go, and better language support for Google Maps, Indic languages, and multilingual commands
Google Assistant is Google’s AI-powered virtual assistant that improved upon every aspect of Google’s previous assistant, Google Now. Ever since its launch, Google has been pushing really hard on the adoption for Assistant by engaging in new partnerships and integrations as well as by introducing new features that add to the overall utility of Google Assistant. At MWC 2019, Google is announcing more new ways that people can utilize Google Assistant, and more new features that will encourage them to rely more on Assistant.
Google Assistant integration within Messages
Messages is Google’s official app for SMS and MMS texting, as well as for RCS chats. Messages offers functionality such as Smart Reply that provides intelligent response prompts for messages depending on their context. Google is adding onto this intelligence by using on-device AI to offer suggestion chips within conversations to allow users to quickly find and share information. Google has been testing Messages integration since quite some time, and now they are officially launching it at MWC 2019.
These info cards are starting off with three categories: movies, restaurants and weather. Google is also promising that information isn’t sent to Google Assistant until and unless you tap on the Assistant suggestion chip, so your conversation data remains on your device as long as you choose it to be. Once you tap on the Assistant suggestion chip, you can choose to share that information back into your conversation.
Voice Typing on KaiOS
Google Assistant isn’t restricted to just smartphones, as you can even get Assistant on smart feature phones that run on KaiOS. KaiOS is a lightweight OS for smart feature phones such as JioPhone and Nokia 8110, offering 4G LTE and WiFi connectivity on these phones. Because KaiOS is targeted towards the entry level of the phone market, phones that run with KaiOS are usually equipped with a keypad that houses 3-4 letters on each key. This makes typing on these devices a real chore, and presents the perfect opportunity for voice based typing solutions to shine.
To capitalize on this, Google is looking to launch Voice Typing on KaiOS. Users can press and hold the Assistant button on their smart feature phone to use their voice to dictate text messages, web searches or anywhere else that has a text input field. Google will also allow users to set separate languages for KaiOS (English) and Google Assistant (native language), aiding people who prefer their native language for verbal communication.
Actions for Android GO and KaiOS
Actions on Google Developer Platform for Google Assistant was announced back in 2016. This platform allowed third party developers to create conversational reply-based actions on Google Assistant, allowing Google Assistant to grow in scope and not remain just a glorified voice search app.
Now, Google has announced that developers will soon be able to release their Actions on Android Go (Android 9 Pie) and KaiOS devices. This will allow developers to serve more local content to users with entry level smartphone and smart feature phones.
Support for more Indic languages
Google had been testing new languages for Google Assistant since November 2018, and now it has formally announced support for eight Indic languages. Google Assistant users in India can now converse with the virtual assistant in Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Gujrati, Kannada, Malayalam and Urdu. English and Hindi have been supported since a while now, and with the addition of these languages, Assistant has gained a very wide coverage over India and its diverse, multilingual population.
Users can also change the language on Google Assistant on the fly with the command: “Ok Google, talk to me in <language>”.
Multilingual support for more languages
Google introduced bilingual conversations to Assistant with support for English, Spanish, German, French, Japanese and Italian. Users could switch back and forth between any two of those languages interchangeably.
Google has now added in more languages, namely Korean, Hindi, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Dutch, to this mix. You can select any language pairing from this expanded pool of languages.
For Assistant, Google has also announced that smartphones from Nokia and LG will now come with a dedicated Google Assistant button.
Also, Google Assistant in Google Maps will soon be available in all Assistant phone languages.
Google is really ambitious for Google Assistant, focusing all of its resources to expand upon the use case for its core Search business. With Assistant, Google has made lives easier for a lot of users, and there’s still a lot more lives to touch.
What are your thoughts on Google Assistant and its latest feature additions? Let us know in the comments below!