Tag Archives: Google Assistant

Now the Google Assistant can take care of your IOUs

When the weekend’s over, chances are someone owes you (or you owe someone) money for something—Friday night's concert tickets, Saturday afternoon's barbecue supplies, or Sunday’s matinee at the movies. Starting today, you can ask your Google Assistant to pay your friends back with Google Pay, so you can spend more time having fun and less time dealing with the hassle of paying each other back.

You can easily send or request money from your contacts—for free—using the Assistant on Android and iOS phones in the U.S. In the coming months, you’ll be able to send money on voice-activated speakers like Google Home.

No worries if you haven't already signed up for Google Pay—you'll be prompted to set up your account as soon as you ask the Assistant to send money to your contacts. Funds are transferred almost instantaneously, even if the recipient doesn’t have a Google Pay account. Your friends and family will receive an email, text message, or notification if they’re already have the Google Pay app installed, so they can cash out.

Assistant Google Pay

To get started, just say “Hey Google, request $20 from Sam for the show tonight” or “Hey Google, send Jane $15 for lunch today” and let your Google Assistant do the rest.

Introducing the Google Assistant on iPad

Last year we brought the Google Assistant to iPhones and today, iPads are joining the party. The Assistant on iPad can do everything the Assistant on your iPhone can do, with the added benefit of a bigger screen that supports both portrait and landscape mode.

Here are some highlights of how the Assistant can help on your iPad while you’re hanging around the house:

  • Set the mood by having the Assistant “dim the lights”
  • Cast to your TV by asking the Assistant to “watch the latest news on the living room TV”
  • Stay in touch by asking the Assistant to “video call mom” or “text Lauren”
  • Keep up with your chores by asking the Assistant to “remind me to take out the recycling at 8 PM”

Plus, you can stay productive by multitasking on iPad with iOS 11, letting you chat with the Assistant while you play a game, plan a trip or check your calendar.

Assistant iPad.png

The Assistant on iPad is rolling out today and will be available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil) and Spanish.

More ways to use the Google Assistant, from your phone to your fridge

While I typically use my Google Assistant to play music, control my lights and set timers, it’s easy to dream about what else could be possible—like an Assistant that could help organize my sock drawer or bring me a cold drink while relaxing on the couch. While on its own the Google Assistant isn’t there just yet, with some creative makers and developers, it’s well on its way.

The Google Assistant is available across all kinds of devices—from speakers to phones, TVs and more. Until recently, device makers big and small had to use the same Google Assistant regardless of whether they were making the Assistant work with phones, fridges or lights. Starting today, thanks to a new feature for Actions called Custom Device Actions, device makers can extend the Assistant and add “native” functionality specific to their device. For example, if a washer has a specific color cycle, you could activate that cycle simply by asking the Google Assistant.

To showcase some of the imaginative ways people are using Actions, we’re building a Google Assistant Fun House at SXSW. If you’re in town, you can take our voice controlled sock sorting robot for a spin and test out our couch potato-optimized beer ordering system (yes, we actually built these).   

sock
vending

You don’t need to be in Austin this weekend to have a little fun. We also have a few other updates coming your way:

  • Notifications. You’ll soon be able to subscribe to notifications on your phone from your favorite Actions, so you can hear about a newly added workout, a change in a stock price, or a news alert, right when it happens. For example, Esquire cansend you daily “wisdom tips” to start your day off with a little sage advice and you can ask Forbes for a “quote of the day.”
  • Better media playback. Starting today, Actions will support media playback on speakers and Android phones, giving you access to more audio experiences like longer meditation sessions, relaxing sounds, clips from your favorite TV shows and news briefings. With this update, you can also easily pause or replay audio with your voice, or when you’re on your phone,  you’ll see a media player you can tap to pause, replay, or even turn the screen off while the audio keeps playing. With The Daily Show Action, for example, you can listen to the latest full and extended interviews.
  • New Actions. We recently launched a handful of new Actions for the Assistant, so if you’re in the mood for some inspiration, to listen to music, a quick trivia game or a good laugh, give these a whirl: American Idol, Trivia from iHeartRadio, Calm, The Mindfulness App and more.

We hope these new features help you stay up to date with your favorite Actions and media. And if you’re in Austin this weekend, see you at the Fun House at 1301 E. Cesar Chavez, Austin, Texas 78701.

New creative ways to build with Actions on Google

Posted by Brad Abrams, Group Product Manager, & Chris Ramsdale, Product Manager

Though it's been just a few short weeks since we released a new set of features for Actions on Google, we're kicking off our presence at South by Southwest (SXSW) with a few more updates for you.

SXSW brings together creatives interested in fusing marketing and technology together, and what better way to start the festival than with new features that enable you to be more creative, and to build new type of Actions that help your users get more things done.

Support for media playback and better content carousels

This past year, we've heard from many developers who want to offer great media experiences as part of their Actions. While you can already make your podcasts discoverable to Assistant users, our new media response API allows you to develop deeper, more-engaging audio-focused conversational Actions that include, for example, clips from TV shows, interactive stories, meditation, relaxing sounds, and news briefings.

Your users can control this audio playback on voice-activated speakers like Google Home, Android phones, and more devices coming soon. On Android phones, they can even use the controls on their phone's notification area and lock screen.

Some developers who are already using our new media response API include The Daily Show, Calm, and CNBC.

To get started using our media response API, head over to our documentation to learn more.

And if your content is more visual than audio-based, we're also introducing a browse carousel for your Actions that allows you to show browsable content -- e.g., products, recipes, places -- with a visual experience that users can simply scroll through, left to right. See an example of how this would look to your users, below, then learn more about our browse carousel here.

Daily updates and push notifications on phones, now available to your users

While having a great user experience is important, we also want to ensure you have the right tools to re-engage your users so they keep coming back to the experience you've built. To that end, a few months ago, we introduced daily updates and push notifications as a developer preview.

Starting today, your users will have access to this feature. Esquire is already using it to send daily "wisdom tips", Forbes sends a quote of the day, and SpeedyBit sends daily updates of cryptocurrency prices to keep them in the know on market fluctuations.

As soon as you submit your Action for review with daily updates or push notifications enabled, and it's approved, your users will be able to opt into this re-engagement channel. Learn more in our docs.

Build connected experiences on Google Assistant for the paying users of your Android app

Actions for Google now allows you to access digital purchases (including paid app purchases, in-app purchases, and in-app subscriptions) that your users make from your Android app. By doing so, you can recognize when you're interacting with a user who's paid for a premium experience on your Android app, and similarly serve that experience in your Action, across devices.

And the best part? This is all done behind the scenes, so the user doesn't need to take any additional steps, like signing in, for you to provide this experience. Economist Espresso, for example, now knows when a user has already paid for a subscription with Google Play, and then offers an upgraded experience to the same user through their Action.

A new way to extend an embedded Google Assistant

In December of last year we announced the addition of Built-in Device Actions to the Google Assistant SDK for devices. This feature allows developers to extend any Google Assistant that is embedded in their device using traits and grammars that are maintained by Google and are largely focused on home automation. For example "turn on", "turn off" and "turn the temperature down".

Today we're announcing the addition of Custom Device Actions which are more flexible Device Actions, allowing developers to specify any grammar and command to be executed by their device. Once you build these Custom Device Actions, users will be able to activate specific capabilities through the Google Assistant. This leads to more natural ways in which users interact with their Assistant-enabled devices, including the ability to utilize more specific device capabilities.

Before:

"Ok Google, turn on the oven"

"Ok, turning on the oven"

After:

"Ok Google, set the oven to convection and preheat to 350 degrees"

"Ok, setting the oven to convection and preheating to 350 degrees"

To give you a sense of how this might work in the real world, check out a prototype, Talk to the Light from the talented Red Paper Heart team, that shows a zany use of this functionality. Then, check out our documentation to learn more about how you can start building these for your devices. We've provided a technical case study from Red Paper Heart and their code repository in case you want to see how they built it.

In addition to Custom Device Actions, we've also integrated device registration into the Actions on Google console, allowing developers to get up and running more quickly. To get started checkout the latest documentation and console.

A few creative explorations to inspire you

Similarly, we teamed up with a few cutting-edge teams to explore the creative potential of the Actions on Google platform. Following the Voice experiments the Google Creative Lab released a few months ago, these teams released four new experiments:

The code for all of these Actions is open source and is accompanied by in-depth technical case studies from each team that shares their learnings when developing Actions.

Case studies of Actions, built with Dialogflow

Ready to build? Take a look at our three new case studies with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Domino's, and Ticketmaster. Learn about their development journey with Dialogflow and how the Actions they built help them stay ahead of the conversational technology curve, be where their customers are, and assist throughout the entire user journey:

We hope these updates get your creative juices flowing and inspire you to build even more Actions and embed the Google Assistant on more devices. Don't forget that once you publish your first Action you can join our community program* and receive your exclusive Google Assistant t-shirt and up to $200 of monthly Google Cloud credit. Thanks for being a part of our community, and as always, if you have ideas or requests that you'd like to share with our team, don't hesitate to join the conversation.


*Some countries are not eligible to participate in the developer community program, please review the terms and conditions

The Google Assistant gets dressed up for the Oscars

oscars

Today marks the 90th Oscars® and while the Google Assistant might not be 90 years wise just yet, it can help you keep up with the Oscars* — and the best movies — before, during and after the show.

First up, let’s cover the basics “Hey Google, when are the Oscars?” and then you can set a reminder with the Assistant on your phone or speaker like Google Home.

Next, it’s never a bad idea to do some research. Just ask the Assistant: “Hey Google, who’s nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars?” and if you haven’t seen the movie, you can follow up with the Assistant on your phone or TV: “Show me the trailer for … [insert your favorite nominee]."

Who doesn’t love a good game? Prepare your Oscars bingo board: “Hey Google, who’s nominated for Best Actress?" Or get into the prediction game by saying “Hey Google, who’s going to win Best Picture?”

And, if you happen to miss a few moments of the big show, just say “Hey Google, who won the Oscar for Best Actor?”

From preparing you for an Oscars movie marathon with friends — “Hey Google, who stars in [insert favorite nominated movie here🎥!]" — to enjoying the big night,  “Hey Google, turn down the lights,” the Google Assistant is here to help you do more.


*All Google Assistant Oscars queries are available in US-English only

Actions on Google now supports 16 languages, android app integration and better geo capabilities

Posted by Brad Abrams, Product Manager

While Actions on the Google Assistant are available to users on more than 400 million devices, we're focused on expanding the availability of the developer platform even further. At Mobile World Congress, we're sharing some good news for our international developer community.

Starting today, you can build Actions for the Google Assistant in seven new languages:

  • Hindi
  • Thai
  • Indonesian
  • Danish
  • Norwegian
  • Swedish
  • Dutch

These new additions join English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Italian and Russian. That brings our total count of supported languages to 16! You can develop for all of them using Dialogflow and its natural language processing capabilities, or directly with the Actions SDK. And we're not stopping here–expect more languages to be added later this year.

If you localize your apps in these new languages you won't just be among the first Actions available in the new locales, you'll also earn rewards while you do it! And if you're new to Actions on Google, check out our community program* to learn how you can snag an exclusive Google Assistant t-shirt and up to $200 of monthly Google Cloud credit by publishing your first Action. Already we've seen partners take advantage of other languages we've launched in the past like Bring!, which is now available in both English and German.

New updates to make it easier to build for global audiences

Besides supporting new languages, we're also making it easier to build your Action for global audiences. First, we recently added support for building with templates—creating an Action by filling in a Google Sheet without a single line of code—for French, German, and Japanese. For example, TF1 built Téléfoot, using templates in French to create an engaging World Cup-themed trivia game with famous commentators included as sound effects.

Additionally, we've made it a little easier for you to localize your Actions into different languages by enabling you to export your directory listing information as a file. With the file in hand, you can translate offline and upload the translations to your console, making localization quicker and more organized.

But before you run off and start building Actions in new languages, take a quick tour of some of the useful developer features rolling out this week…

Link to your Android app to help users get things done from their mobile devices

By the end of the year the Assistant will reach 95 percent of all eligible Android phones worldwide, and Actions are a great way for you to reach those users to help them get things done easily over voice. Sometimes, however, users may benefit from the versatility of your Android app for particularly complex or highly interactive tasks.

So today, we're introducing a new feature that lets you deep link from your Actions in the Google Assistant to a specific intent in your Android app. Here's an example of SpotHero linking from their Action to their Android app after a user purchased a parking reservation. The Android app allows the user to see more details about the reservation or redeem their spot.

As you integrate these links in your Action, you'll make it easier for your users to find what they're looking for and to move seamlessly to your Android app to complete their user journey. This new feature will roll out over the coming weeks, but you can check out our developer documentation for more information on how to get started.

A faster, easier way to help with location queries

We're also introducing askForPlace, a new conversation helper that integrates the Google Places API to enable developers to use the Google Assistant to understand location-based user queries mid-conversation.

Using the new helper, the Assistant leverages Google Maps' location and points of interest (POI) expertise to provide fast, accurate places for all your users' location queries. Once the location details have been sorted out with the user, the Assistant returns the conversation back to your Action so the user can finish the interaction.

So whether your business specializes in delivering a beautiful bouquet of flowers or a piping hot pepperoni pizza, you no longer need to spend time designing models for gathering users' location requests, instead you can focus on your Action's core experience.

Let's take a look at an example of how Uber uses the askForPlace helper to help their users book a ride:

We joined halfway through the interaction above, but it's worth pointing out that once the Uber action asked the user "Where would you like to go?" the developer triggered the askForPlace helper to handle location disambiguation. The user is still speaking with Uber, but the Assistant handled all user inputs on the back end until a drop-off location was resolved. From there, Uber was able to wrap up the interaction and dispatch a driver.


Head over to the askForPlace docs to learn how to create a better user experience for your customers.

Fewer introductions for returning users

And to wrap up our new feature announcements, today we're introducing an improved experience for users who use your app regularly—without any work required on your end. Specifically, if users consistently come back to your app, we'll cut back on the introductory lead-in to get users into your Actions as quickly as possible.

Today's updates are part of our commitment to improving the platform for developers, and making the Google Assistant and Actions on Google more widely available around the globe. If you have ideas or requests that you'd like to share with our team, don't hesitate to join the conversation.

*Some countries are not eligible to participate in the developer community program, please review the terms and conditions

The Google Assistant is going global

Over the past year and a half, the Google Assistant has grown from being available on just one device in one language to across many types of devices, including speakers, phones, Android Auto and TVs, in many languages all around the world. We’ve been focused on making the Assistant useful throughout all parts of your day, and earlier this year we showed the latest features we’re bringing to the Assistant in homes and in cars.

As we head into Mobile World Congress, the mobile industry’s largest trade show, we're sharing more about how we’re working closely with the mobile ecosystem to bring the Assistant to more people around the world. Similar to Android, where we've partnered closely with mobile carriers and device makers to build great products for people everywhere, we’re taking an ecosystem approach to the Assistant on mobile. Here's a look at what's coming.

Bringing the Assistant to more than 30 languages

Android users are all around the world, so from the start, our goal has been to bring the Assistant to as many people, languages, and locations as possible. The Assistant is already available in eight languages, and by the end of the year it will be available in more than 30 languages, reaching 95 percent of all eligible Android phones worldwide. In the next few months, we’ll bring the Assistant to Danish, Dutch, Hindi, Indonesian, Norwegian, Swedish and Thai on Android phones and iPhones, and we’ll add more languages on more devices throughout the year.

We’re also making the Assistant multilingual later this year, so families or individuals that speak more than one language can speak naturally to the Assistant. With this new feature, the Assistant will be able to understand you in multiple languages fluently. If you prefer to speak German at work, but French at home, your Assistant is right there with you. Multilingual will first be available in English, French and German, with support for more languages coming over time.

Building a great Assistant for phones

Since MWC last year, we've been working closely with device makers (OEMs) to bring all the capabilities of the Assistant to life on Android phones. This year, we’re bringing these efforts together as the Assistant Mobile OEM program, which will enable OEMs to build deeper integrations between the Assistant and device features, using natural language understanding and the conversational interfaces of the Assistant. We’ve already been working with OEMs for more than a year and continue to work together so they can build device-specific commands with the Assistant, develop integration with hardware-based AI chips, ensure “Ok Google" and "Hey Google" work when the screen is off, and build other custom integrations. Coming soon, we’ll also have new integrations from LG, Sony Mobile and Xiaomi.

Mobile carriers also play a critical role in delivering great mobile experiences to people through their networks and services. Our Assistant Carrier program helps mobile carriers use capabilities in the Assistant to give their customers more insight and control over their service. This includes helping people learn more about their plan, add new services (like international data roaming), get customer support and more. This gives carriers a new way to support their customers while reducing response time. Carriers Sprint, Koodo, Telus and Vodafone are already developing integrations with the Assistant, with more coming soon.

A better experience across devices

The Assistant can already help you keep track of your day, control your smart home devices, make calls, find recipes and more. Starting over the next week, we’re adding two new features that help you use the Assistant across all the devices in your life.

  • Routines: We first announced Routines last year, which help you get multiple things done with just a single command. In the coming weeks in the U.S., you’ll be able to use six routines that help with your morning, commutes to and from work, and evening at home. For example, say “Hey Google, I’m home” and the Assistant on your Google Home or phone can turn on the lights, share any home reminders, play your favorite music and more, all with just four words.
  • Location-based reminders: You can already set reminders based on a location with the Assistant on your phone. In the coming weeks, you’ll also be able to set them with your speaker. Want to make sure you pick up the milk at the grocery store? All you have to do is ask the Assistant on your smart speaker, like Google Home—and when you get to the store, the Assistant on your phone will remind you.

With more languages, more features and closer integrations with phone makers and carriers, the Assistant is getting better for you.

With love, from your Google Assistant

balloons

No matter how you like to spend your Valentine’s Day—with romantic gestures or like any other Wednesday—the Google Assistant is here to help you celebrate and have some fun. Just say …

  • Hey Google, serenade me
  • Hey Google, will you be my Valentine?
  • Hey Google, tell me a love story
  • Hey Google, I’m single
  • Hey Google, I hate Valentine's Day

So happy Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day or Wednesday to you and yours!

Six ways Google can keep you up to speed in PyeongChang

Tomorrow thousands of athletes will come together in PyeongChang to represent their countries with the world as their audience. While the athletes are getting ready for the gold, we’re getting a few of our products ready, too. Here are six ways Google is helping you stay connected to what’s happening on the ground (and on the ice) during the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games:

1. Stay in the snow know with Google Search

When you search for the Winter Olympics, you’ll find the latest information about your favorite events at the top of Search results. You’ll be able to see your country’s rank in the race for gold medals, or dive into a specific sport to check out which athletes have won. When you’re not tuning into the Winter Games live, you can watch a daily recap video, see top news related to the Olympic Games, and find verified updates from official broadcasters around the world.
GoogleSearch_Winter.gif

2. Tune in with YouTube

Starting February 8, if you miss a competition, you can watch select Olympic Winter Games video highlights from official Olympic broadcasters on YouTube in more than 80 countries around the world including from NBCUniversal (USA), BBC (UK), NHK (Japan), France TV (France), and Eurosport (Rest of Europe). In the U.S., YouTube TV will also show NBCUniversal’s live coverage of the Olympic Winter Games. In India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives and Nepal the Winter Games will be for the first time live and free on the Olympic Channel on YouTube.

3. Keep up with these apps on Google Play

Don’t miss a single jump (ski, axel, or otherwise) with these apps in the Google Play Store. Just download and follow along with the athletes and watch the action live:


4. Explore South Korea in Street View and Google Earth

Check out the new “sports” category in Google Earth Voyager with five stories about the Winter Games that take you from epic ski jumping destinations to theOlympic Torch relay. These travel itineraries will help you explore South Korea’s capital city, and on Street View, you can see the new imagery of stadiums, cities and towns close to PyeongChang.

5. Get your head in the game with the Assistant

Your Google Assistant can help you stay up to date throughout the games. Curious about winners? Just say “Hey Google, who won women’s 1000 meter speed skating in the Olympics?” Rooting for a specific country? “Hey Google, how many medals does Iceland have in the Olympics?” You can even say “Hey Google, tell me a fun fact about the games in PyeongChang.” No matter how you’re asking—on your phone, speaker, TV or other enabled device—the Google Assistant can keep up with all the important Olympic details.

Plus, in the U.S., NBC is bringing an exclusive game to the Google Assistant across devices. It’s already live, so test your winter sports knowledge with dozens of trivia questions. Just say “Hey Google, play NBC Sports Trivia” to start your quest for Olympics’ trivia gold.

6. VR gets you closer to the action

Stream more than 50 hours of NBCUniversal’s live coverage—from the Opening Ceremony to alpine skiing, ice hockey, figure skating, snowboarding, curling and more—in virtual reality by using your YouTube TV credentials to log in to the NBC Sports VR app, powered by Intel True VR. In Europe, multi-camera live VR coverage is available via the Eurosport VR app.

Let the games begin.

We’ve got your playbook for football Sunday

Just in time for the coin toss, we’re here with some ways your Google Assistant can help you prep for game day, as well as some trending recipes state by state.


“Hey Google, let’s make buffalo wings”

The Google Assistant's recipe feature, available on speakers like Google Home, is a host’s best friend: you can send a recipe straight from mobile search or the Assistant on your phone (iPhone and Android) to your speaker. From there, just say “Hey Google, start recipe,” and you can follow hands-free step-by-step directions as you go. You can also ask questions like “what’s a substitute for chipotle chili powder?” or “how many grams of cornmeal in a cup?” and then go right back to the recipe by saying “Hey Google, next step.” Set multiple timers at once and even name them (cornbread, simmer); listen to music and podcasts to get your game face on.


You can also try one of these questions with your Google Assistant to get game day details, highlights and a few surprises:


  • “Hey Google, give me a game prediction” 
  • “Hey Google, coach me”
  • “Hey Google, let’s play Lucky Trivia Sports” 
  • “Hey Google, touchdown!” 

And since the Google Assistant is available across devices, you can keep up with the game no matter where you are. If you’re running late to the party, ask the Google Assistant in your Android Auto car for the score. Walking to the corner store to stock up on snacks? Your Assistant on your phone or headphones will have the latest. And if you’re at home looking to fill the time between plays, ask the Assistant on your speaker to play sports trivia.


Now we’re cooking

Whether you’re a Philly fan, a New England diehard or just there for the commercials, good food is non-negotiable. With data from the Google News Lab, here’s a look at the most uniquely-searched game day recipes by state. Turns out the two rival teams’ home states are both chowing down on chili, but from “bacon shrimp” in Montana to “calzone” in Kansas to “crab dip” in South Carolina, maybe these unique searches will inspire you to go beyond chips and dip! You can check out more on Google Trends.
game day recipes 2018

BRB, game’s almost starting.