Tag Archives: Google Assistant

How creating an Action can complement your Android app

Posted by Neto Marin - Actions on Google Developer Advocate

There are millions of apps in the Android ecosystem, so helping yours get discovered can require some investment. Your app needs to offer something that differentiates it from other similar apps to stand out to users.

Building a companion Action is a fast and simple way to increase your Android app's potential reach by creating a new entrypoint from devices covered by the Google Assistant. This lets you bring your services to users without needing to install anything through voice, and can bring people into your app when it can provide more value.

Your companion Action complements your Android app's experience by offering some of your services through the Google Assistant, which is available on more than 500 million devices including speakers, phones, cars, headphones, and more. Creating an Action provides a frictionless way for users to start engaging with your services wherever the Google Assistant is available.

Creating an Action for the Assistant will extend your brand presence, bringing your services to new devices and contexts as users interact with the Google Assistant.

Feature what your app does better

It is probably a mistake to try to rewrite all of your Android app as a conversational Action, since voice is a different modality with different constraints and usage patterns. Instead, you should start by selecting the most important or popular features in your app that translate well into a voice context and can be more easily accomplished there. Then, you can create your conversational experience to offer these features on Google Assistant devices. Check out the Conversation design site, which has several articles and guides about how to create a great voice UI.

Let's take a look at a hypothetical example. Imagine you have a mobile commerce app. Some features include searching for products, navigating to different categories, adding payment information, and checking out. You could build an Action for the Assistant with most of the same functionality, but we encourage you to look for what makes the most sense in a conversational experience.

In this case, your Action could focus on everything that a user would want to know after they've purchased a product through your Android app or web page. You could offer a quick way to get updates about a purchase's status (if you provide different states for payment/purchase process) and shipment information, or provide an interface for re-ordering a user's favorite products. Then, your users would be able to ask something like, "Hey Google, ask Voice Store about my last purchase."

Or, to reach users who have never made a purchase before, you could create an Action to offer exciting deals for common products. For example, you could create an Action that is invoked with, "Hey Google, ask Voice Store what are the deals on TVs today".

As you can see, starting with a "hero" use case for your Action is an exciting way to introduce conversational features that complement your Android app, and it will take less time than you think.

At Google I/O 2018, we presented a talk, "Integrating your Android apps with the Google Assistant" which contains more details and examples for developers.

Delivering user's purchases across surfaces

In-app purchases, subscriptions, and one-time products have proven successful for Android developers when it comes to monetization, allowing developers to offer different kinds of digital goods and additional value for paying users. These types of monetization are proven to drive user conversion and make the app more profitable.

Google Play Billing offers a series of tools, APIs, and documentation to help developers manage the subscription life-cycle, build server-side validation, and much more. If you are new to in-app billing, check out the Google Play Billing Overview page.

Now, Android developers can expand where users can access these goods or upgraded experiences by offering them through Actions, as well. This expansion is accomplished by honoring the user's entitlements on Google Play across different surfaces and devices, reaching users when they can't (or don't want to) use an app, like while cooking or driving.

For non-Android platforms, you'll need to ask your users to link their accounts. You can then use your user's account history to identify what purchases they've made on other surfaces.

Check the Accessing Digital Purchases page for a step-by-step guide on how to enable access to the user's purchases and request and parse the purchase data.

What's next?

If you are not familiar with Actions on Google yet, start by checking out our overview page, which describes the platform in detail and tells you all you need to know to create your Actions for the Google Assistant.

Stay tuned for more posts about how to improve your Android app experience with Actions on Google.

Thanks for reading!

Ok Google, ¿cómo será mi día?

If you’ve ever asked Google Home, “Ok Google, do you speak Spanish?” and didn’t quite get what you wanted, we have exciting news for you. Starting today, the Assistant on Google Home can help you get more done in Spanish, whether that’s enjoying music, managing your day, or and controlling smart devices around the house.

Getting a little help at home in Spanish is simple, just tap Menu in the Google Home app, select Preferences in the Settings menu and then select Español. From there, you’ll be ready to:

  • Ask about your day with “Ok Google, ¿cómo será mi día?” and get a full rundown of what’s on your schedule for the day. 
  • Get to know more about the World Cup by asking “Ok Google, ¿cuándo juega México?” or cheer for your team with “Ok Google, dame un cántico de fútbol”.
  • Listen to your top songs just by saying “Ok Google, reproducir mi lista de reproducción para hacer ejercicio” and start enjoying the hits. 
  • Turn down the temperature with your voice by asking “Ok Google, sube la temperatura del termostato” so you and your family stay comfortable without leaving the couch. 
  • Celebrate your birthday asking “Ok Google, cantamé Las Mañanitas”.

You can do all this and more in Spanish across all your Google Home products—Home, Mini and Max. And now, Google Home and Google Home Mini are also available in Spanish in both Mexico and Spain.

Solving problems with AI for everyone

Today, we’re kicking off our annual I/O developer conference, which brings together more than 7,000 developers for a three-day event. I/O gives us a great chance to share some of Google’s latest innovations and show how they’re helping us solve problems for our users. We’re at an important inflection point in computing, and it’s exciting to be driving technology forward. It’s clear that technology can be a positive force and improve the quality of life for billions of people around the world. But it’s equally clear that we can’t just be wide-eyed about what we create. There are very real and important questions being raised about the impact of technology and the role it will play in our lives. We know the path ahead needs to be navigated carefully and deliberately—and we feel a deep sense of responsibility to get this right. It’s in that spirit that we’re approaching our core mission.

The need for useful and accessible information is as urgent today as it was when Google was founded nearly two decades ago. What’s changed is our ability to organize information and solve complex, real-world problems thanks to advances in AI.

Pushing the boundaries of AI to solve real-world problems

There’s a huge opportunity for AI to transform many fields. Already we’re seeing some encouraging applications in healthcare. Two years ago, Google developed a neural net that could detect signs of diabetic retinopathy using medical images of the eye. This year, the AI team showed our deep learning model could use those same images to predict a patient’s risk of a heart attack or stroke with a surprisingly high degree of accuracy. We published a paper on this research in February and look forward to working closely with the medical community to understand its potential. We’ve also found that our AI models are able to predict medical events, such as hospital readmissions and length of stays, by analyzing the pieces of information embedded in de-identified health records. These are powerful tools in a doctor’s hands and could have a profound impact on health outcomes for patients. We’re going to be publishing a paper on this research today and are working with hospitals and medical institutions to see how to use these insights in practice.

Another area where AI can solve important problems is accessibility. Take the example of captions. When you turn on the TV it's not uncommon to see people talking over one another. This makes a conversation hard to follow, especially if you’re hearing-impaired. But using audio and visual cues together, our researchers were able to isolate voices and caption each speaker separately. We call this technology Looking to Listen and are excited about its potential to improve captions for everyone.

Saving time across Gmail, Photos, and the Google Assistant

AI is working hard across Google products to save you time. One of the best examples of this is the new Smart Compose feature in Gmail. By understanding the context of an email, we can suggest phrases to help you write quickly and efficiently. In Photos, we make it easy to share a photo instantly via smart, inline suggestions. We’re also rolling out new features that let you quickly brighten a photo, give it a color pop, or even colorize old black and white pictures.

One of the biggest time-savers of all is the Google Assistant, which we announced two years ago at I/O. Today we shared our plans to make the Google Assistant more visual, more naturally conversational, and more helpful.

Thanks to our progress in language understanding, you’ll soon be able to have a natural back-and-forth conversation with the Google Assistant without repeating “Hey Google” for each follow-up request. We’re also adding a half a dozen new voices to personalize your Google Assistant, plus one very recognizable one—John Legend (!). So, next time you ask Google to tell you the forecast or play “All of Me,” don’t be surprised if John Legend himself is around to help.

We’re also making the Assistant more visually assistive with new experiences for Smart Displays and phones. On mobile, we’ll give you a quick snapshot of your day with suggestions based on location, time of day, and recent interactions. And we’re bringing the Google Assistant to navigation in Google Maps, so you can get information while keeping your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.

Someday soon, your Google Assistant might be able to help with tasks that still require a phone call, like booking a haircut or verifying a store’s holiday hours. We call this new technology Google Duplex. It’s still early, and we need to get the experience right, but done correctly we believe this will save time for people and generate value for small businesses.

Understanding the world so we can help you navigate yours

AI’s progress in understanding the physical world has dramatically improved Google Maps and created new applications like Google Lens. Maps can now tell you if the business you’re looking for is open, how busy it is, and whether parking is easy to find before you arrive. Lens lets you just point your camera and get answers about everything from that building in front of you ... to the concert poster you passed ... to that lamp you liked in the store window.

Bringing you the top news from top sources

We know people turn to Google to provide dependable, high-quality information, especially in breaking news situations—and this is another area where AI can make a big difference. Using the latest technology, we set out to create a product that surfaces the news you care about from trusted sources while still giving you a full range of perspectives on events. Today, we’re launching the new Google News. It uses artificial intelligence to bring forward the best of human intelligence—great reporting done by journalists around the globe—and will help you stay on top of what’s important to you.

Overview - News.gif

The new Google News uses AI to bring forward great reporting done by journalists around the globe and help you stay on top of what’s important to you.

Helping you focus on what matters

Advances in computing are helping us solve complex problems and deliver valuable time back to our users—which has been a big goal of ours from the beginning. But we also know technology creates its own challenges. For example, many of us feel tethered to our phones and worry about what we’ll miss if we’re not connected. We want to help people find the right balance and gain a sense of digital wellbeing. To that end, we’re going to release a series of features to help people understand their usage habits and use simple cues to disconnect when they want to, such as turning a phone over on a table to put it in “shush” mode, or “taking a break” from watching YouTube when a reminder pops up. We're also kicking off a longer-term effort to support digital wellbeing, including a user education site which is launching today.

These are just a few of the many, many announcements at Google I/O—for Android, the Google Assistant, Google News, Photos, Lens, Maps and more, please see our latest stories.

The future of the Google Assistant: Helping you get things done to give you time back

We announced our vision for the Google Assistant just two years ago at I/O, and since then, we’ve been making fast progress in bringing the Assistant to more people around the world to help them get things done. As of today, the Google Assistant is available on more than 500 million devices, it works with over 5,000 connected home devices, it’s available in cars from more than 40 brands, and it’s built right into the latest devices, from the Active Edge in the Pixel 2 to a dedicated Assistant key in the LG G7 ThinQ. Plus, it’ll be available in more than 30 languages and 80 countries by the end of the year.

Today at I/O, we’re sharing our vision for the next phase of the Google Assistant, as we make it more naturally conversational, visually assistive, and helpful in getting things done.

Naturally conversational

Language is incredibly complex—people ask about something as simple as the weather in over 10,000 ways (our favorite: “Will it be cats and dogs today?”). We’ve dramatically improved our language understanding so you can speak naturally to your Google Assistant and it will know what you mean.

New voices

One of the most important parts of the Assistant is its voice—it needs to feel both personal and natural. Up until now, creating a new voice took hundreds of hours in a recording studio. But with advancements in AI and WaveNet technology from DeepMind, we can now create new voices in just a few weeks and are able to capture subtleties like pitch, pace, and all the pauses that convey meaning, so that voices are natural-sounding and unique. Starting today, you can choose from six new voices for your Google Assistant. And John Legend will lend his melodic tones to the Assistant later this year—who wouldn’t want him wishing you A Good Night?

Continued Conversation
Soon you’ll be able to have a natural back-and-forth conversation without repeating “Hey Google” for each follow-up request. The Assistant will be able to understand when you’re talking to it versus someone else, and will respond accordingly. This feature has been one of our top requests and you’ll be able to turn on Continued Conversation in the coming weeks.

Multiple Actions
A key part of having a natural conversation is being able to ask about many things at once. With Multiple Actions, which is already starting to roll out, the Google Assistant will be able to understand more complex queries like “What’s the weather like in New York and in Austin?”

Pretty Please
Assistant features for families—powered by Family Link—provides free family-friendly games, activities, and stories from content partners like Disney. (Families have listened to over 130,000 hours of children’s stories in the last two months alone.) To help you give your little ones some positive reinforcement when they ask nicely, later this year we’ll introduce Pretty Please, so that the Assistant can understand and encourage polite conversation.

Custom and scheduled Routines
Earlier this year we launched six ready-made Routines to help you get multiple things done with a single command. Starting today, we’re rolling out Custom Routines, which allow you to create your own Routine with any of the Google Assistant’s one million Actions, and start your routine with a phrase that feels best for you. For example, you can create a Custom Routine for family dinner, and kick it off by saying "Hey Google, dinner's ready" and the Assistant can turn on your favorite music, turn off the TV, and broadcast “dinner time!” to everyone in the house. Later this summer, you’ll be able to schedule Routines for a specific day or time either using the Assistant app or through the Google Clock app for Android.

Google Assistant: 6 new voices

Visually Assistive

So far the Assistant has been centered on the verbal conversation you can have with Google, but now we’re bringing the simplicity of voice together with a rich visual experience.  

Smart Displays
Smart Displays are a new category of devices built for the home that let you quickly glance at responses provided by the Google Assistant. You can access the Assistant hands-free by voice, but you can also tap and swipe the screen when that’s easier. You can follow along with a recipe, control your smart home, watch live TV on YouTube TV, and make video calls with Google Duo. Smart Displays come integrated with all your favorite Google services like Calendar, Maps, and YouTube. The first Smart Displays will be available for purchase starting in July.

New visual experience for the phone
We’re also redesigning the Assistant experience on the screen that’s with us all the time—our phones. The Assistant will give you a quick snapshot of your day, with suggestions based on the time of day, location and recent interactions with the Assistant. To provide a summary of tasks and list items, we’re integrating popular notes and lists services from Google Keep, Any.do, Todoist and many more. We’re also bringing a new food pick-up and delivery experience to the Assistant that isn’t constrained by a chat-style interface, so you can order your favorites from Starbucks, Doordash and Applebee’s, in addition to existing partners like Dunkin’ Donuts and Domino’s. The new visual design will be available in the Google Assistant app later this year.

Google Maps
The Assistant is coming to navigation in Google Maps later this summer, with a low visual profile so you can keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. You'll be able to send text messages, play music and podcasts, and get information without leaving the navigation screen. For example, say “Hey Google, read me my messages” and you can get a summary of unread texts with the option to respond by voice.

Getting more done in the real world, powered by Google Duplex

The Google Assistant helps you save time by taking tasks off your plate, whether that’s ordering a coffee or buying movie tickets online. But sometimes you need to pick up the phone and call a business to get something done. This summer, we’ll start testing a new capability within the Google Assistant to help you make restaurant reservations, schedule hair salon appointments, and get holiday hours. Just provide the date and time, and your Assistant will call the business to coordinate for you. If a business uses an online booking service, the Assistant will book through that. And if not, the Assistant will call the business on your behalf.

Powered by a new technology we call Google Duplex, the Assistant can understand complex sentences, fast speech, and long remarks, so it can respond naturally in a phone conversation. Even though the calls will sound very natural, the Assistant will be clear about the intent of the call so businesses understand the context. Once your reservation or appointment is booked, the Assistant will add a calendar reminder for your appointment and allow you to cancel if needed.

This technology will be helpful to the many small businesses that rely on phone calls to book appointments today—our research shows that 60 percent of small businesses who rely on customer bookings don’t have an online booking system. And many people simply don't reserve with businesses that don't take online bookings. With Google Duplex, businesses can operate as they always have; and people can easily book with them through the Google Assistant. We’re just getting started, but we’re excited for how Google Duplex can connect small businesses with Google Assistant users.

phone calling fom the Google Assistant.png

Here's how the Assistant can help make a phone call 

Bringing the Assistant to 80 countries by the end of the year

We’re bringing Google Home and Google Home Mini to seven new countries later this year: Denmark, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden. We’re also launching the Google Assistant in Spanish for Android Oreo (Go edition) phones soon. And to make it easier for you to have conversations with others, wherever you are, Google Translate will soon be available on all headphones optimized for the Google Assistant.

We’re excited to give you a preview of some of the latest developments we’re bringing to the Google Assistant across your devices. You can start trying some of these today in the Google Assistant app for Android and iOS. And your smart speaker devices like the Google Home will be automatically updated with the latest features once they’re available. We have lots more in store this year, stay tuned!

May the 4th be with you … at the movies. Book with the Google Assistant.

What started as a fun pun—May the 4th—has now become an official holiday for Star Wars fans. On this day known around the globe as “Star Wars Day,” fans celebrate the lore of the galaxy far, far away. We’ve got a couple of ideas for how you can join in on the celebration!

Your box office guide

What if the droids in the Star Wars universe could pull off this handy trick … your Google Assistant can now help you find, learn about and purchase tickets to the movies. If you’re not sure what you’re in the mood for, just ask your Google Assistant for “showtimes near me,” and if one of the movies sounds interesting, you can keep the conversation going by asking “who stars in it?” or “show me the trailer.”

assistant_fandango

We worked with Fandango so you can buy tickets to the movies using your voice—just say “buy tickets” once you’ve decided which movie to see. Or if you already have a movie in mind, you can just say “Hey Google, get me tickets for...”  and insert the name of the movie you want to see. You can even buy advance tickets for upcoming movies, like “Solo: A Star Wars Story” opening on May 25th. Here’s how it works on your phone:

And if you’re purchasing tickets for a movie that requires reserved seating, you can use Fandango or other providers to pick your seats before you complete your purchase. This works even if you started the conversation on your Google Home – take a look:

Before you go see “Solo: A Star Wars Story” later this month, enjoy the best of Star Wars on Google Play! We’ve got you covered with discounts and deals on Star Wars apps, games, movies, books and more from that galaxy far, far away.

As a huge fan of Han Solo and Chewbacca, I’m excited to share some wookiee tricks from your Google Assistant … just say, “Hey Google, may the 4th be with you.”

Send your recipes to the Google Assistant

Last year, we launched Google Home with recipe guidance, providing users with step-by-step instructions for cooking recipes. With more people using Google Home every day, we're publishing new guidelines so your recipes can support this voice guided experience. You may receive traffic from more sources, since users can now discover your recipes through the Google Assistant on Google Home. The updated structured data properties provide users with more information about your recipe, resulting in higher quality traffic to your site.

Updated recipe properties to help users find your recipes

We updated our recipe developer documentation to help users find your recipes and experience them with Google Search and the Google Assistant on Google Home. This will enable more potential traffic to your site. To ensure that users can access your recipe in more ways, we need more information about your recipe. We now recommend the following properties:

  • Videos: Show users how to make the dish by adding a video array
  • Category: Tell users the type of meal or course of the dish (for example, "dinner", "dessert", "entree")
  • Cuisine: Specify the region associated with your recipe (for example, "Mediterranean", "American", "Cantonese")
  • Keywords: Add other terms for your recipe such as the season ("summer"), the holiday ("Halloween", "Diwali"), the special event ("wedding", "birthday"), or other descriptors ("quick", "budget", "authentic")

We also added more guidance for recipeInstructions. You can specify each step of the recipe with the HowToStep property, and sections of steps with the HowToSection property.

Add recipe instructions and ingredients for the Google Assistant

We now require the recipeIngredient and recipeInstructions properties if you want to support the Google Assistant on Google Home. Adding these properties can make your recipe eligible for integration with the Google Assistant, enabling more users to discover your recipes. If your recipe doesn't have these properties, it won't be eligible for guidance with the Google Assistant, but it can still be eligible to appear in Search results.

For more information, visit our Recipe developer documentation. If you have questions about the feature, please ask us in the Webmaster Help Forum.

Turning your house into a smart home with the Google Assistant

How many times have you crawled into bed and realized you forgot to turn off the living room lights? Or tried to catch the last minutes of the game but couldn't find the remote? These are the moments we ask ourselves: how is this still a thing?!

With the Google Assistant we’re working to make this experience a lot better, so you can easily control all the devices and appliances in your home with just your voice. Over the past year, we’ve made great progress ensuring that the Google Assistant can work with all types of connected devices, and now every major device brand works with the Assistant in the U.S.

Just how many devices is that? Today, the Google Assistant can connect with more than 5,000 devices for your home—up from 1,500 this January. That includes cameras, dishwashers, doorbells, dryers, lights, plugs, thermostats, security systems, switches, vacuums, washers, fans, locks, sensors, heaters, AC units, air purifiers, refrigerators, ovens … we can keep on going!

Smart Home Assistant-hero

Here are just a few of the new ways you can make your home smarter with the Google Assistant:

Turn your living room into a smart entertainment center

One of the most popular ways people use the Google Assistant in their homes is to watch movies and shows on their TV and play music. In fact, media and entertainment queries like “play SportCenter,” have increased 400 percent over the past six months.

Millions of people already have access to the Assistant on smart TVs powered by Android TV, and we're still seeing tremendous growth. We’re also making it easy to turn any TV into a smart TV with Chromecast, so you can easily control what you’re watching with the Google Assistant from smart speakers like Google Home. And we’re working closely with partners to build the Assistant into the next generation of TVs available later this year.

We’re also helping you control set top boxes and remotes with the Google Assistant. Rolling out this month, DISH’s Hopper family of receivers will work with the Google Assistant, so people in millions of U.S. homes can operate their TV using their voice and a Google Assistant device. Just say “Hey Google, play ESPN on the Hopper” to your Google Assistant and your TV will automatically tune to the right channel. It’ll also be even easier to control home entertainment using Logitech Harmony hub-based remotes with the Google Assistant. The new, simplified voice commands will let you go directly to your favorite channels, control volume, or pause a show. You will no longer need to say “talk to Logitech” to control your TV, and can use more natural language like “play channel 4.”

Get helpful alerts from your security camera

Security cameras and smart doorbells let you keep tabs on activity around your home, and we’ve worked to ensure that the Google Assistant works seamlessly with these devices. If you have a Nest Hello doorbell, the Assistant will alert you if someone rings the doorbell, sending a chime to your smart speaker or phone with the option to view the live stream right from your phone, TV or our new line of Smart Display devices available later this year. This Nest product was the first to ship with this feature, and we’ll enable Assistant notifications on more home security devices from other popular brands later this year.

We’re also adding more popular security alarm brands that will now work with your Google Assistant, including ADT, First Alert, and Vivint Smart Home, smart door locks from August and Schlage, and home security cameras from Panasonic.

Turn on all the things with the Google Assistant

With the Google Assistant, you can easily control all the connected devices in your home, from lights, to thermostats, to appliances, all in one simple place.  You can do this with your smart speaker like the Google Home Mini, or with the Google Assistant app on your smartphone, turning your phone into your own personal home control hub even when you’re away from home.

We’ve been working with device brands around the world to ensure the Assistant works with all the most popular smart home devices. We recently announced support for IKEA lights and Deutsche Telekom’s Magenta hub which enables dozens of devices to be controlled by Google Assistant. Our partners are continuing to add even more devices that work with the Google Assistant across the home in the coming months, including ADT lights and thermostat, Xiaomi lights, Hunter Douglas window treatments, Hisense’s H9E Plus and H9100E Plus TVs, Portable AC and Dehumidifiers, Arlo security cameras, and new LG appliances, which include everything from air purifiers to TVs.

Try it out today

With more than one million Actions the Google Assistant can help you with today, we bet you’ll discover something new you never knew the Assistant could do. Some of the most popular smart home actions with the Google Assistant are “Hey Google:

  • Turn on the lights
  • Set the temperature to X degrees 
  • Turn on the TV
  • Dim the lights 
  • Arm the security system

Give it a try today—check out all the ways the Assistant can help you in the home.

Investing in startups and the future of the Google Assistant

Across all our developer platforms, from Android to Chrome to Actions on Google and more, we've focused on fostering an open ecosystem where developers can build rich experiences for their users. We’ve continued this approach with the Google Assistant, providing tools for developers to create natural conversational experiences. We’re also working closely with device partners to create new surfaces for the Assistant. Developers have created a wide range of Actions—some practical, some inspirational—that help you get things done in new ways we couldn’t have predicted just a few years ago, whether that’s helping you control your smart home, find subway times, or even helping you meditate.

To promote more of this creativity, we're opening a new investment program for early-stage startups that share our passion for the digital assistant ecosystem, helping to push new ideas forward and advance the possibilities of what digital assistants can do.

This new program will consist of several components:

  • Investment capital from Google to provide additional financial resources for the development, hiring, and management of these startups.
  • Advice from Google engineers, product managers, and design experts to share technical guidance and product development feedback.
  • Google partnership programs that provide early access to upcoming features and tools so startups can bring their products to market as quickly as possible.
  • Access to the Google Cloud Platform, our suite of cloud computing services that run on the same infrastructure that we use for products like Google Search and YouTube.
  • Promotional support through Google marketing channels to drive greater awareness for the features and functionality of these new applications.
We’re welcoming companies across a diverse range of fields, including startups that are developing technologies that broaden the Assistant’s set of features, or are building new hardware devices for digital assistants, or that focus on a particular industry such as travel, games, or hospitality. We’re sharing the first batch of investments and look forward to helping them succeed in the Assistant ecosystem:
  • GoMoment: Creator of Ivy, a 24/7 concierge for hotel guests, capable of providing instant answers to common questions like "Is there a happy hour at the bar tonight?" or “Can I get a late checkout?” Anything requiring human expertise is sent to hotel staff and tracked for quick and reliable resolution. Ivy is used by leading hotels like Caesars Palace, Treasure Island and Hard Rock.
  • Edwin: Your personal English tutor powered by AI. Edwin prepares students looking to take English as a foreign language tests, such as the “Test of English as a Foreign Language” (TOEFL). Edwin combines advanced AI technology with the expertise of professional English teachers to tailor every lesson to your individual needs, learning style and pace.
  • BotSociety: You can say a million things in a billion different ways to voice assistants, so BotSociety created a tool that allows developers to design, prototype and user test voice interfaces. More than 30,000 developers worldwide have designed their voice assistant applications using Botsociety.
  • Pulse Labs: Helping voice application designers understand what their users want to do. With Pulse Labs, developers can test their applications with real people, quickly acquire in-depth insights, and use that feedback to refine the experience.

If you have big ideas and are interested in partnering with the Google Assistant team, check out our website and reach out through our form.

It’s story time, and the Google Assistant has a tale for you

Your family is probably tired of hearing the same old stories about your high school glory days, or about that one time you rolled five Yahtzees in a row at game night. So the next time you’re in need of a story (probably today—it’s National Tell a Story Day!), the Google Assistant has some good ones to share. Gather ‘round:

  • For the classics like “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Cinderella” and “Sleeping Beauty,” say “Hey Google, tell me a story.” 
  • To hear short stories from NPR told by real people across the United States, say “Hey Google, tell me a StoryCorps story” 
  • When you say “Hey Google, tell me a story about motherhood,” you’ll hear beautiful, two-minute interviews between mothers and their children. Keep that one in mind in a few weeks for Mother’s Day. 
  • If you want a fun, interactive adventure with the kids, get Mickey Mouse involved with “Hey Google, talk to Mickey Mouse Story Time.” Or Lightning McQueen can put story time into high gear–just say, “Hey Google, talk to Cars Adventure.” 
  • For times when you want five lines and some rhymes, say “Hey Google, give me a limerick.”
When story time’s done, grab the Yahtzee board and try to make it six rolls in a row.

The end.

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.