Google Assistant is Google’s answer to Amazon’s Alexa smart home assistant. Initially only available with limited functionality in the Google Allo application, Google Assistant later rolled out with the Google Home and Pixel smartphones to bring the full power of Google’s assistant to consumers.
After a few months of waiting, smartphones running Android 6.0+ also received Google Assistant, and just a few days ago Google launched the Google Assistant SDK which allows Assistant to be run on basically any platform. Today, we will show you how to install Google Assistant onto your Windows, Mac, or Linux machine using Python.
You’ll need to have Python installed no matter whether or not you are using Windows, macOS, or a GNU/Linux distribution. Installation is fairly simple and already well-documented by the Python wiki, so we won’t go into many details about getting Python up and running on your machine.
Once you’ve got Python working on your machine (you can confirm it is working by opening up a terminal/command prompt and then simply typing
python.) If you see the terminal/command prompt return the current Python version on your computer, then you’re golden.
Next, before we can install the necessary files to get Google Assistant working, we need to enable access to the Google Assistant API in the Google Cloud Platform Console.
What follows are step-by-step instructions walking you through the process to enable the Google Assistant API in the Cloud Platform Console so you can access Google Assistant through the Python program. All of these steps are platform independent, meaning that the steps are the same for Windows, macOS, and GNU/Linux users.
We have now created a mechanism for a client, in this case our Windows/Mac/Linux machine, to access the Google Assistant API under our Google account. Next we need to set up the client that will access the Google Assistant API.
Open up a terminal/command prompt window and go through the following steps. First, enter this command:
py -m pip install google-assistant-sdk[samples]
You should see a whole bunch of dependencies being downloaded and installed when you enter this command. These are needed for the sample Python project to work. Wait for it to finish.
Once it’s done, next enter the following command (make sure to adjust the path):
py -m googlesamples.assistant.auth_helpers --client-secrets path\to\your\client_secret_XXX.apps.googleusercontent.com.json
In the command prompt, you will see a response telling you to visit a URL in order to authorize the application.
Copy and paste this URL into your browser. Select the same Google account that you used to configure the Google Assistant API. On the next page, you will see a text box that contains your client’s Access Token.
Copy that Access token and paste it into the command prompt where it asks you for the authorization code. If done correctly, you will see a response that your credentials have been saved.
The first thing you’ll want to test is whether or not Google Assistant is able to record audio from your microphone. Enter the following command into a command prompt, which will record 5 seconds of audio and play it back to you:
python -m googlesamples.assistant.audio_helpers
If you hear your audio played back to you, then enter this command to begin talking to Google Assistant:
python -m googlesamples.assistant
Wait for the command prompt to say “press Enter to send a new request”, then press Enter to begin talking to Google Assistant. After you’re done speaking, the command prompt will display a transcript of what you just stated and then play back the response. If you see a warning afterwards, just ignore it.
Have fun playing with Google Assistant on your Windows, macOS, or GNU/Linux machine! I played with it for only a few minutes before getting bored with it. It’s not particularly useful in this format, but it is a very quick demonstration of the possibilities that the new Google Assistant SDK represents. Perhaps we may see desktop apps or browser extensions taking advantage of this functionality in the near future.