Tag Archives: Google Assistant

5 ways to beat holiday stress with the Google Assistant

Five more gifts to buy, three projects to wrap up before the holiday break and one big family dinner to host. Anyone else have an end-of-the-year list like this? Here's how the Google Assistant is helping me get through it all:

1. Stay organized with notes and lists

If you’re like me, inspiration strikes when you’re busy, like while cooking, commuting or playing with the kids. Starting to roll out today, you can use your Assistant to create and manage your notes and lists in Google Keep, Any.do, AnyList, or Bring! across Assistant-enabled phones and smart speakers. Lists are also available on Smart Displays. 


To get started, simply connect the Assistant with the app you use to create notes or lists. Select the “Services” tab in your Google Assistant settings and then choose your preferred provider name from the “Notes and Lists” section. Once connected, new notes and lists created from supported Assistant surfaces will appear in your chosen provider. You can also ask the Assistant for your historical notes and lists that were createdbefore you connected the Assistant with your chosen provider, but these will not be visible in the provider’s app.


Here are a few things to try, starting with “Hey Google…”:

  • “Create a holiday gift list.”

  • “Add Chromebook to my holiday gift list.”

  • “Add cranberries to my grocery list.”

  • “Take a note.”

  • “Show me my notes.”

2. Assign reminders to your housemates and family members 

Assignable reminders help families and housemates collaborate and stay organized all year around. You can create reminders for your partner or roommate to pick up eggnog from the store, order gift wrapping paper or mail your holiday cards. To assign a reminder, ask your Assistant, “Hey Google, remind Nick to pick up Mom from the airport tonight.”  

3. Find and share photos using just your voice

It’s now easier than ever to find and share your favorite holiday memories, simply by using your voice. On your Android phone, just say, “Hey Google, look up photos from this weekend," tap your favorite pictures and then say, "Hey Google, share these photos with Lizzie.” Your Assistant helps you search through your photos, pick your favorites, and send them to your friends or family. 

4. Listen to podcasts by topic

Heading to a potluck and tasked with bringing an entree? Turn to your Assistant for some cooking inspiration. When you ask the Assistant for podcasts about a certain topic—“Hey Google, find a podcast about holiday cooking”—it’ll suggest relevant episodes for you. Or if you’re looking to get a head start on productivity and self improvement, just ask, “Hey Google, show me podcasts about New Year's resolutions.” The feature is available now in English on all Assistant-enabled devices globally. 

5. Enjoy a pick-me-up while running errands 

And, while you’re getting your last minute holiday shopping done, the Assistant can help you get a sweet treat or or a pick-me-up from Dunkin’. If you have the Dunkin’ App installed on your Android phone, just say “Hey Google, order a latte from Dunkin,” to quickly start your order.


I hope these features will make your holiday season just a little bit easier, so you can focus on spending time with family.


Live from the North Pole, it’s Santa’s Village!

Good day from Santa Tracker HQ! I’m Dimplesticks the Elf, news anchor for the North Pole Broadcasting Channel. This year, our candy-cane broadcast antenna extends beyond Santa’s Village with Google as our official global rebroadcast partner.

Every day over the next three weeks, you can ask your Google Assistant for my reports from the top of the world. Just say, “Hey Google, what’s new at the North Pole?” You’ll also catch my daily North Pole Newscast alongside other minty-fresh NPBC programming like PMZ, the Reindeer Report, and Good Sleigh Today, on Google’s social channels.

What’s new in Santa’s village

And now for our top headline: Santa’s Village has a big makeover this year. Scroll down from the snowy scene up top to discover Santa’s new toy factory, his greenhouse and the reindeer gym. Just click or tap your way to over two dozen games and learning activities—including a new 3D snowbox where you can build your own wintery scene. 

Santa's Village

There are two kinds of scoops in my world: mint chocolate chip ice cream, and stories nobody else has reported. So here's some breaking news: holiday cheer is spilling over from the North Pole, and into a bunch of different Google products.

More ways to be merry 

On Google Earth, test your knowledge of holiday traditions around the world, or take a tour of the tasty treats people eat in various countries this time of year. Then jingle all the way to Image Search (best on mobile) or Tenor and look for Santa Tracker GIFs to make all your messages merry and bright. And it turns out my reporting isn’t the only sweet treat from the Google Assistant. Just ask, “Hey Google, give me a Santa joke" for some good ol’ ho-ho-ho, or say, “Hey Google, call Santa” to help him solve a wacky problem—coming up with a musical genre for his new band. Parents who want their kids to use the Google Assistant can create an account for their kids under 13—or the applicable age in your country—through Family Link.

Some of you eagle-eyed jollymakers may have observed that a few of the activities in the village are still hidden. Mrs. Claus gave me an exclusive overview of what’s to come, but because I promised to keep everything she told me under wraps, all I can say is that in a few more sleeps, there’ll be even more ways to play. Gotta keep you on your mistle-toes! 

We’re sticking with this story tighter than an elf’s tongue on a frozen pole. (Ow!) So follow me and my esteemed colleagues from the North Pole Broadcasting Channel on Google’s social accounts. Or you can search for Santa Tracker on Google for a link to a daily dose of delight.

With your Elfwitness News, I’m Dimplesticks at the North Pole!

Helping families stay connected with the Google Assistant

Every night at our house, bedtime means storytime with Dad. A time when our daughters get to share an experience that’s just between them, get to share storylines and characters with Dad, and I get a few minutes to myself. 

But when my husband deploys, everything changes. And getting recordings of stories from Dad halfway around the world is technically tricky. Listening to him read “The Wind in the Willows” involved downloading each file from Drive and casting it to a Nest Mini. We knew there had to be a better way. 

We even asked folks on message boards for help, which is how my daughters and I ended up traveling to Portland to meet with engineers and designers from Instrument and Google Nest. We helped them design something called My Storytime—a new Google Assistant Action that makes it easier for pre-recorded stories to be played back home for loved ones.

Now, no matter where you are, you can visit MyStorytime.com to create a private account for your family and begin building your library of recorded stories. And once shared with the parent back home, all they have to say is “Hey Google, talk to My Storytime” to hear your personal stories. 

Hey Google, talk to My Storytime

My daughters and I shared our own experiences and ideas in hopes that it would be useful to the more than 100,000 military parents who deploy every year—and the nearly 250,000 children who are back home. According to one organization, United Through Reading, that’s  40 million bedtime stories missed each year by military children. But storytime isn’t only important to military families. Grandparents who live states away, nurses and police officers who work the night shift, and anyone who travels for work can relate to the struggle of trying to make it home in time to read for bedtime. Because every bedtime story is, at its heart, a love story.  

Nothing can replace Daddy being home, but hopefully My Storytime will help make it just a little bit easier to get through the next deployment and that it brings some comfort to other families as well.


Time is Ticking: Clock Contest live with over $10,000 in prizes

Posted by Martin Aguinis, Flutter Marketing LeadTake the Flutter Clock challenge bannerFlutter Clock is a contest offered by Google, with participation from the Flutter, Google Assistant, and Lenovo teams, that challenges you to build a Flutter clock face application for the Lenovo Smart Clock that is beautiful and innovative. Whether you’re a Flutter expert or novice, we invite you to join us and see what you can create. Over $10,000 in prizes will be awarded to the winners! Visit flutter.dev/clock to enter.

Flutter clock content partnership with Google Assistant and Lenovo

High Level Details

Date: All entries must be submitted by January 20, 2020 11:59 PM PST (GMT-8).

How to Submit: Entries will be collected on the form linked at flutter.dev/clock, but see the Official Rules for full details.

Winners: Submissions will be rated by Google and Flutter expert judges against the following rubric: visual beauty, code quality, novelty of idea, and overall execution.

Prizes: Potential prizes include a fully loaded iMac Pro, Lenovo Smart Display, and Lenovo Smart Clock. Also, all complete and valid submissions will receive a digital certificate of completion. In addition, some of the clock contest submissions might be integrated into the Lenovo Smart Clock's lineup of clock faces, or used as inspiration for future clock faces!

Results will be announced at our Mobile World Congress 2020 Keynote.

Good luck and have fun! Time is ticking…

Buy movie tickets with the Google Assistant on Chrome

Using our Duplex technology, the Google Assistant can already book your restaurant reservations over the phone. Now we’re extending that technology to complete tasks online, like buying movie tickets.

Duplex_bodygif.gif

On Android phones, the Assistant can now help you  purchase movie tickets on the web. As you’re thinking about holiday activities for the family, ask the Assistant something like, “Hey Google, showtimes for [movie] in Phoenix this weekend.” Or you can do a search for movie times from the Google app on Android. 

After selecting a theater and time that works best for you, you’ll have the option to “Buy tickets” with the Assistant from more than 70 cinemas and ticketing services, such as Fandango, MovieTickets.com, AMC, or MJR Theaters in the U.S., or ODEON in the UK. From there, the Assistant opens in Chrome to guide you through purchasing your ticket. Thanks to Duplex on the web technology, the Assistant will be able to navigate the site and input your information, like payment information saved in Chrome.

To continue to help you get things done with the Assistant on your phone, we'll expand this feature to other tasks. Up next, car rentals.



Hey Google, play me the news

Podcasting and digital audio are booming, but in many ways the audio web is like the text web of the 1990s. When newspapers first came online, their early sites were hard to navigate and search, didn’t link stories together and often published stories on the web after they went to print. Audio is similar today. It’s an evocative, powerful, massively popular and convenient medium—but because the digital experience has lagged, it’s difficult to find things, especially timely, relevant stories that are meaningful to you. 

At Google, we saw an opportunity to help move digital audio forward by focusing on audio news. By analyzing what’s being said within a given audio file, we can apply our understanding around what text articles are about, how news stories evolve, how topics link together and what might be most relevant to a particular user’s interests. 

Today, we’re introducing Your News Update, a smarter way to listen to the news hosted by the Google Assistant. You can try it today by updating your Assistant news settings.

Your News Update settings

How to change your settings to get Your News Update.

When you say, “Hey Google, play me the news” on any Assistant-enabled phone or smart speaker, Your News Update will begin with a mix of short news stories chosen in that moment based on your interests, location, user history and preferences, as well as the top news stories out there.

If you’re a Steelers fan who follows the stock market and lives in Chicago, for example, you might hear a story about the latest “L” construction, an analysis of last Thursday’s Steelers game and a market update, in addition to the latest national headlines. Keep listening and the experience will extend into longer-form content that dives deeper on your interests. In between stories, the Google Assistant serves as your smart news host that introduces which publishers and updates are next. 

In 2016, we launched our initial News on Assistant product, with news briefings from top publishers. In 2018, we enhanced this functionality with the ability to get spoken responses to news queries on your Google Home—like "Hey Google, what’s the latest news about Brexit?" Your News Update expands on that work by creating an experience that’s fresher and more tailored to you.

Collaborations with publishers from around the world over nearly two years have helped us imagine the future of audio news, and have reinforced the importance of building a healthy ecosystem for both listeners and publishers. And of course, the high-quality stories our partners provide are critical to creating a comprehensive yet intimate news experience for listeners. 

Partners for Your News Update

Your News Update is now available in English in the United States, and will expand internationally next year. You can find Your News Update in Assistant settings: Under the You tab, navigate to News and switch your News playlist format. Then say “Hey Google, play me the news” or add news to one of your Assistant Routines. 

Get Ayesha Curry’s exclusive new recipe on the Google Assistant

Growing up in Venezuela, Canada, Indonesia and the U.S., I’ve experienced many variations of the “traditional” holiday meal. But no matter where I am in the world, one thing has always remained constant: the joy of sharing a delicious meal with the loved ones in my life.


For many people, the holiday season is a chance to spend more time with family and friends. It also means attending or hosting more events than usual, and more cooking and stress to get everything prepared.


Our goal with the Assistant is to help you get things done, especially in the kitchen. To make holiday cooking even easier (and more delicious), bestselling author, entrepreneur and chef, Ayesha Curry’s recipes are starting to roll out on the Google Assistant—so you can get step-by-step help cooking on Smart Displays, like Nest Hub Max.


Ready to give one of Ayesha’s recipes a try? Just say, “Hey Google, show me recipes from Ayesha Curry” and you’ll see a list of some of her favorite appetizers, entrees and desserts. And we have another treat for you … you can ask the Assistant for Ayesha’s brand new recipe—Cast Iron Fall Bread Pudding with Brown Butter Apples—which she provided exclusively for Assistant users. To get the recipe and start cooking, just say, “Hey Google, show me Ayesha Curry’s fall bread pudding recipe” to your Smart Display.


Looking for other ways your Assistant can help out in the kitchen? Here are a few ideas:

  • Quickly convert measurements or figure out a substitute ingredient. Just ask, “Hey Google, how many tablespoons in a cup?” or “Hey Google, what’s a substitute for buttermilk?” 

  • Learn a new cooking technique. Try asking your Assistant, “Hey Google, show me videos for how to laminate pastry dough” or “Hey Google, show me how to brown butter.”

  • Search for recipes based on specific dietary needs. Just say, "Hey Google, show me gluten free stuffing recipes" or "Hey Google, show me vegan broccoli casserole recipes."

  • And when you discover a recipe that you love or want to try out in the future, you can easily save and view it in your own personal Cookbook on Smart Displays like Nest Hub Max. I just saved Ayesha’s Butternut Squash Pasta with Edamame recipe to make for my kids this weekend!


Whether you’re a novice cook hosting your first Friendsgiving, or a seasoned chef putting on your 20th annual Thanksgiving dinner, the Assistant can provide hands-free help so you can pull off the perfect holiday meal. 


Tune into the radio with the Google Assistant and SiriusXM

Starting next week, you can stream SiriusXM’s extensive lineup of channels with the Google Assistant on your smart devices, like Nest Mini, Nest Hub, Android and iOS phones, and everywhere Assistant is available. 

With just your voice, you can pick from a wide selection of talk shows, commercial-free music, and sports stations from SiriusXM, which is great when your hands are full while getting ready for work or you’re cooking dinner with friends. Just say “Hey Google, play Howard 100 on SiriusXM” or play other channels, like “play Hits 1 on Sirius XM” and “play Fantasy Sports Radio on SiriusXM.” You can also select dedicated artist channels by asking “Hey Google, play The Beatles Channel on SiriusXM,” or try other channels, like “play Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud radio.” Or, just simply say “Hey Google, play SiriusXM” to listen to the last channel you played earlier. This will be available in the U.S. and Canada, starting in English and expanding to Canadian French soon.  

Eligible customers can get a 3-month free trial subscription for SiriusXM if you have a Google Assistant account set up in the Google Home App. And later this year, we’ll bring curated video content from SiriusXM to your Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max. You’ll get access to exclusive in-studio performances, interviews and more. 

There are also tens of thousands of stations that you can already play through your Assistant from providers like TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and Radio.com. With your voice, you can switch between stations to jam with your favorite DJ, get updates about your home team, or catch up on the day's headlines. 

Here are a few ways to tune into the radio with the Assistant:

  • Ask for your favorite station by its channel name or frequency—say something like, “Hey Google, play KGMZ” or “play 95.7.”

  • Find the local NPR station by saying “Hey Google, play NPR” or even tune into international stations such as BBC Radio with the Assistant.

  • The Assistant remembers your most recent station. Just say “Hey Google, turn on the radio” to drop back into the stream.

  • When you're in the car, you can access the Assistant from your driving directions in Google Maps. Just say "Hey Google ..." and ask for your favorite station, so that you don't have to take your eyes off the road.

  • Your favorite radio station will automatically play when you add it to your “good morning” or “I’m home” Routine, which allows you to get multiple things done with a single command from the Assistant. They’re easy to set up

You can easily tune into your favorite stations when you’re at home or on the go. Give these a try yourself. 


New Analytics updates in Actions on Google Console

Posted by Mandy Chan, Developer Advocate

Have you built an Action for the Google Assistant and wondered how many people are using it? Or how many of your users are returning users? In this blog post, we will dive into 5 improvements that the Actions on Google Console team has made to give you more insight into how your Action is being used.

1. Multiple improvements for readability

We've updated three areas of the Actions Console for readability: Active Users Chart, Date Range Selection, and Filter Options. With these new updates, you can now better customize the data to analyze the usage of your Actions.

Active Users Chart

The labels at the top of the Active Users chart now read Daily, Weekly and Monthly, instead of the previous 1 Day, 7 Days and 28 Days labels. We also improved the readability of the individual date labels at the bottom of the chart to be more clear. You’ll also notice a quick insight at the bottom of the chart that shows the unique number of users during this time period.

Before:Active Users chartAfter:

Date Range Selection

Previously, the date range selectors applied globally to all the charts. These selectors are now local to each chart, allowing you more control over how you view your data.

The date selector provides the following ranges:

  • Daily (last 7 days, last 30 days, last 90 days)
  • Weekly (last 4 weeks, last 8 weeks, last 12 weeks, last 24 weeks)
  • Monthly (last 3 months, last 6 months, last 12 months)
Date Selector

Filter Options

Previously when you added a filter, it was applied to all the charts on the page. Now, the filters apply only to the chart you're viewing. We’ve also enhanced the filtering options available for the ‘Surface’ filter, such as mobile devices, smart speakers, and smart display.

Before:

Filter Options Before

After:

filter options after

The filter feature also lets you show data breakdowns over different dimensions. By default, the chart shows a single consolidated line, a result of all the filters applied. You can now select the ‘Show breakdown by’ option to see how the components of that data contribute to the totals based on the dimension you selected.

2. Introducing Retention metrics (New!)

A brand new addition to analytics is the introduction of a retention metrics chart to help you understand how well your action is retaining users. This chart shows you how many users you had in a week and how many returned each week for up to 5 weeks. The higher the percentage week after week, the better your retention.

When you hover over each cell in the chart, you can see the exact number of users who have returned for that week from the previous week.

Retention Metrics

3. Improvements to Conversation Metrics

Finally, we’ve consolidated the conversation metrics and brought them together into a single chart with separate tabs (‘Conversations’, ‘Messages’, ‘Avg Length’ and ‘Abort rate’) for easier comparison and visibility of trends over time. We’ve also updated the chart labels and tooltips for better interpretation.

Before:

Conversion Metrics Before

After:

Conversion Metrics After

Next steps

To learn more about what each metric means, you can check out our documentation.

Try out these new improvements to see how your Actions are performing with your users. You can also check out our documentation to learn more. Let us know if you have any feedback or suggestions in terms of metrics that you need to improve your Action. Thanks for reading! To share your thoughts or questions, join us on Reddit at r/GoogleAssistantDev.

Follow @ActionsOnGoogle on Twitter for more of our team's updates, and tweet using #AoGDevs to share what you’re working on. Can’t wait to see what you build!

Nest Mini is here: listen to stories from Disney’s “Frozen 2”

Nest Mini hits shelves today, just in time to help you catch up with what’s been happening in Arendelle as Disney’s “Frozen 2” hits theaters. Join Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and Olaf around the campfire for a dozen tales that you can only hear on the new Nest Mini (and other Google Assistant smart speakers), available starting today. 

To get started, just say, “Hey Google, tell me a Frozen story” and you can pick which character you’d like to narrate (and more stories will be coming by the end of the year).

For families who want to relive the films at home, Google Home and Nest smart speakers can help read along with you. When you read Disney’s “Frozen” and “Frozen 2” Little Golden Books aloud, the Google Assistant brings the books to life with sound effects and music. Just say, “Hey Google, read along with Frozen 2” to get started. 

 Parents can give their kids access to the Assistant on Nest Mini and other Google Assistant smart speakers  by creating an account for kids under 13  (or the applicable age in your country) through Family Link, then linking their Google Account and voice to Google Nest. Google Nest already comes with lots of other Disney games, so you can go on interactive adventures with some of your favorite characters right from your living room.

You can pick up your Nest Mini, Google’s newest smart speaker with better sound, an upgraded Assistant and a sustainable design, at the Google Store, Target, Best Buy and more retailers. So, get ready to gather the family around your new Nest Mini and go back to Arendelle with Disney’s “Frozen” 2 stories and be sure to catch the film in theaters on November 22.