Posted by Julia Chen Davidson, Head of Partner Marketing, Google Home
We recently launched the Google Home Hub, the first ever Made by Google smart speaker with a screen, and we knew that a lot of you would want to put these helpful devices in the kitchen—perhaps the most productive room in the house. With the Google Assistant built-in to the Home Hub, you can use your voice—or your hands—to multitask during meal time. You can manage your shopping list, map out your family calendar, create reminders for the week, and even help your kids out with their homework.
To make the Google Assistant on the Home Hub even more helpful in the kitchen, we partnered with BuzzFeed's Tasty, the largest social food network in the world, to bring 2,000 of their step-by-step tutorials to the Assistant, adding to the tens of thousands of recipes already available. With Tasty on the Home Hub, you can search for recipes based on the ingredients you have in the pantry, your dietary restrictions, cuisine preferences and more. And once you find the right recipe, Tasty will walk you through each recipe with instructional videos and step-by-step guidance.
Tasty's Action shows off how brands can combine voice with visuals to create next-generation experiences for our smart homes. We asked Sami Simon, Product Manager for BuzzFeed Media Brands, a few questions about building for the Google Assistant and we hope you'll find some inspiration for how you can combine voice and touch for the new category of devices in our homes.
What additive value do you see for your users by building an Action for the Google Assistant that's different from an app or YouTube video series, for example?
We all know that feeling when you have your hands in a bowl of ground meat and you realize you have to tap the app to go to the next step or unpause the YouTube video you were watching (I can attest to random food smudges all over my phone and computer for this very reason!).
With our Action, people can use the Google Assistant to get a helping hand while cooking, navigating a Tasty recipe just by using their voice. Without having to break the flow of rolling out dough or chopping an onion, we can now guide people on what to expect next in their cooking process. What's more, with the Google Home Hub, which has the added bonus of a display screen, home chefs can also quickly glance at the video instructions for extra guidance.
The Google Home Hub gives users all of Google, in their home, at a glance. What advantages do you see for Tasty in being a part of voice-enabled devices in the home?
The Assistant on the Google Home Hub enhances the Tasty experience in the kitchen, making it easier than ever for home chefs to cook Tasty recipes, either by utilizing voice commands or the screen display. Tasty is already the centerpiece of the kitchen, and with the Google Home Hub integration, we have the opportunity to provide additional value to our audience. For instance, we've introduced features like Clean Out My Fridge where users share their available ingredients and Tasty recommends what to cook. We're so excited that we can seamlessly provide inspiration and coaching to all home chefs and make cooking even more accessible.
How do you think these new devices will shape the future of digital assistance? How did you think through when to use voice and visual components in your Action?
In our day-to-day lives, we don't necessarily think critically about the best way to receive information in a given instance, but this project challenged us to create the optimal cooking experience. Ultimately we designed the Action to be voice-first to harness the power of the Assistant.
We then layered in the supplemental visuals to make the cooking experience even easier and make searching our recipe catalogue more fun. For instance, if you're busy stir frying, all the pertinent information would be read aloud to you, and if you wanted to quickly check what this might look like, we also provide the visual as additional guidance.
Can you elaborate on 1-3 key findings that your team discovered while testing the Action for the Home Hub?
Tasty's lens on cooking is to provide a fun and accessible experience in the kitchen, which we wanted to have come across with the Action. We developed a personality profile for Tasty with the mission of connecting with chefs of all levels, which served as a guide for making decisions about the Action. For instance, once we defined the voice of Tasty, we knew how to keep the dialogue conversational in order to better resonate with our audience.
Additionally, while most people have had some experience with digital assistants, their knowledge of how assistants work and ways that they use them vary wildly from person to person. When we did user testing, we realized that unlike designing UX for a website, there weren't as many common design patterns we could rely on. Keeping this in mind helped us to continuously ensure that our user paths were as clear as possible and that we always provided users support if they got lost or confused.
What are you most excited about for the future of digital assistance and branded experiences there? Where do you foresee this ecosystem going?
I'm really excited for people to discover more use cases we haven't even dreamed of yet. We've thoroughly explored practical applications of the Assistant, so I'm eager to see how we can develop more creative Actions and evolve how we think about digital assistants. As the Assistant will only get smarter and better at predicting people's behavior, I'm looking forward to seeing the growth of helpful and innovative Actions, and applying those to Tasty's mission to make cooking even more accessible.
What's next for Tasty and your Action? What additional opportunities do you foresee for your brand in digital assistance or conversational interfaces?
We are proud of how our Action leverages the Google Assistant to enhance the cooking experience for our audience, and excited for how we can evolve the feature set in the future. The Tasty brand has evolved its videos beyond our popular top-down recipe format. It would be an awesome opportunity to expand our Action to incorporate the full breadth of the Tasty brand, such as our creative long-form programming or extended cooking tutorials, so we can continue helping people feel more comfortable in the kitchen.
To check out Tasty's Action yourself, just say "Hey Google, ask Tasty what I should make for dinner" on your Home Hub or Smart Display. And to learn more about the solutions we have for businesses, take a look at our Assistant Business site to get started building for the Google Assistant.
If you don't have the resources to build in-house, you can also work with our talented partners that have already built Actions for all types of use cases. To make it even easier to find the perfect partner, we recently launched a new website that shows these agencies on a map with more details about how to get in touch. And if you're an agency already building Actions, we'd love to hear from you. Just reach out here and we'll see if we can offer some help along the way!