Tag Archives: Actions

Announcing Actions Builder & Actions SDK: New tools optimized for the Google Assistant

Posted by the Assistant Developer Platform team

Since the launch of the Google Assistant, our developer ecosystem has been instrumental in delivering compelling voice experiences to more than 500 million active users. Today, we’re taking a major step forward in helping you build these custom voice apps and services by introducing a suite of new and improved developer tools: Actions Builder and Actions SDK. These tools make building Conversational Actions for the Assistant easier and more streamlined than ever.

Better design and development tools

Actions Builder is a web-based IDE that lets you develop, test, and deploy directly in the Actions console. The graphical interface lets you visualize the conversational flow, manage Natural Language Understanding (NLU) training data, and debug with advanced tools.

For those of you who prefer local IDEs, the updated Actions SDK provides a file based representation of your Actions project. This lets you author NLU training data and conversational flows locally as well as bulk import and export training data. We've also updated the CLI that accompanies Actions SDK, so you can build and manage Actions projects completely with code, using your favorite source control and continuous integration tools.

Together, Actions Builder and Actions SDK create a seamless, consolidated development experience. No matter what tool you start with, you can switch between them based on what works best for your workflow. For example, you can use Actions Builder to lay out conversational flows and provide NLU training data, Actions SDK to write fulfillment code, and the CLI to synchronize the two. These tools create an environment where all team members can contribute effectively and focus on what they do best: design and code.

New interaction model

A new, powerful interaction model lets you design conversations quickly and efficiently. Intents and scenes let you define robust NLU training data and behavior for specific conversational contexts. Using scenes as building blocks, you define active intents, declare context specific error handling, collect data through slot filling, and respond with prompts.

Scenes also separate conversational flow definitions from fulfillment logic, so you can reuse the same flows across multiple conversations. Transitions between scenes let you define when one conversational context switches to another. All your scenes and transitions describe a full conversational flow and all possible dialog turns.

You can express the entire interaction model with either the Actions Builder or Actions SDK. A typical way to develop is to use Actions Builder to view and edit your scenes and then use Actions SDK to sync changes to your local file system. This lets you version control your project, modify your project files, and build fulfillment in your favorite development environment.

Faster and smarter runtime engine

Under the hood, we also made a lot of improvements that your users will appreciate. We sped up the Assistant runtime engine, so users get faster responses and a smoother experience. We’ve also made the runtime engine smarter, so your Actions can understand users better with the same amount of training data.

Production ready platform

We've worked with Pretzel Labs and Galinha Pintadinha to test the capabilities of the new platform and to refine the interaction model and runtime engine improvements.

Pretzel Labs built Kids Court with Actions Builder, creating a full conversational flow with no code and added fulfilment for advanced functionality.

"Having the combination of a visual layout with webhook blocks for code helps us collaborate clearly and more efficiently. Something I liked very much about this was the separation between the designer and the developers' parts, making it very intuitive to make design changes without affecting backend logic."
-- Adva Levin, founder of Pretzel Labs

Galinha Pintadinha runs one of the biggest YouTube channels and built one the most popular Conversational Actions in their country. Their development team migrated to the new platform to optimize their workflow and simplify future Action development. Galinha Pintadinha’s Actions now contain half the number of intents and have a radically simplified conversation tree. Using features like contextual error handling, they were able to improve the user experience and quality with little to no cost.

"Actions Builder is a robust and well designed toolbox for developing conversational apps. The concept of scenes and transitions helped us define the flow of our Action in a much more streamlined way."
-- Mário Neto, engineer at Galinha Pintadinha

Get started

To learn more about Actions Builder and SDK and to start developing your next Actions, check out our new developer resources. Our codelabs will walk you through using the new tooling and interaction model. Samples for all major features are also available, so you can start playing with code immediately. See the full set of documentation to start building today.

Stay tuned for more platform updates and happy coding!

Join the “Build Actions for Your Community” Event Series

Posted by Ido Green, Developer Advocate

Ever wanted to learn about developing for the Google Assistant and meet other developers that are passionate about conversational UI? Well, we've got some good news!

Today, we are launching a global series of events about Actions on Google, run by Google Developers Groups (GDG) and other community groups. In these events, you'll be able to meet other developers and go together through educational content, uniquely crafted for these events by Google engineers. This includes tutorials on how to build your first Action and advanced sessions on how to use more complex features of the platform. By the end of the event you attend, you'll be able to build an Action for your community - be it your hometown, your professional network, or interest group.

And if you don't see an event near you, don't worry - you can always organize your own. We'll help!

It's going to be a great year for Actions developers. Please join us and check out the dedicated event website with all the event details and more information: developers.google.com/events/buildactions!

Actions on Google is now available for British English

Posted by Brad Abrams, Product Manager

Starting today, we're making all your apps built for the Google Assistant available to our en-GB users across Google Home (recently launched in the UK), select Android phones and the iPhone.

While your apps will appear in the local directory automatically this week, to make your apps truly local, here are a couple of things you should do:

  • There are four new TTS voices with an en-GB accent. We've automatically selected one for your app but you can change the selected voice or opt to use your current en-US TTS voice by going to the actions console.
  • We also recommend reviewing all your response text strings and making adjustments to accommodate for differences between the two languages -- e.g., these pesky little Zeds. This will help make your app shine when accessed on the phone.

Apps like Akinator, Blinkist Minute and SongPophave already optimized their experience for en-GB Assistant users—and we can't wait to see who dives in next!

And for those of you who are excited about the ability to target Google Assistant users on eng-GB, now it is the perfect time to start building. Our developer tools, documentationand simulatorhave all been updated to make it easy for you to create, test and deploy your first app.

We'll continue to make the Actions on Google platform available in more languages over the coming year. If you have questions about internationalization, please reach out to us on Stackoverflowand Google+.


Game developers rejoice—new tools for developing on Actions on Google

By Sunil Vemuri, Product Manager for Actions on Google

Since we launchedthe Actions on Google platform last year, we've seen a lot of creative actions for use cases ranging from meditation to insurance. But one of the areas where we're especially excited is gaming. Games like Akinator to SongPop demonstrate that developers can create new and engaging experiences for users. To bring more great games online, we're adding new tools to Actions on Google to make it easier than ever for you to build games for the Google Assistant.

First, we're releasing a brand new sound effect library. These effects can make your games more engaging, help you create a more fun persona for your action, and hopefully put smiles on your users' faces. From airplanes, slide whistles, and bowlingto cats purring and thunder, you're going to find hundreds of options that will add some pizzazz to your Action.

Second, for those of you who feel nostalgic about interactive text adventures, we just published a handy guide on how to bring these games to life with the Google Assistant. With many old favorites being open source or in the public domain, you are now able to re-introduce these classics to Google Assistant users on Google Home.

Finally, for those of you who are looking to build new types of games, we've recently expanded the list of tool and consulting companies that have integrated their development solutions with Actions on Google. New collaborators like Pullstring, Converse.AI, Solstice and XAPP Media are now also able to help turn your vision into reality.

We can't wait to see how you use our sound library and for the new and classic games you'll bring to Google Assistant users on Google Home! Make sure you join our Google+ community to discuss Actions on Google with other developers.

Start building Actions on Google

Posted by Jason Douglas, PM Director for Actions on Google

The Google Assistant brings together all of the technology and smarts we've been building for years, from the Knowledge Graph to Natural Language Processing. To be a truly successful Assistant, it should be able to connect users across the apps and services in their lives. This makes enabling an ecosystem where developers can bring diverse and unique services to users through the Google Assistant really important.

In October, we previewed Actions on Google, the developer platform for the Google Assistant. Actions on Google further enhances the Assistant user experience by enabling you to bring your services to the Assistant. Starting today, you can build Conversation Actions for Google Home and request to become an early access partner for upcoming platform features.

Conversation Actions for Google Home

Conversation Actions let you engage your users to deliver information, services, and assistance. And the best part? It really is a conversation -- users won't need to enable a skill or install an app, they can just ask to talk to your action. For now, we've provided two developer samples of what's possible, just say "Ok Google, talk to Number Genie " or try "Ok Google, talk to Eliza' for the classic 1960s AI exercise.

You can get started today by visiting the Actions on Google website for developers. To help create a smooth, straightforward development experience, we worked with a number of development partners, including conversational interaction development tools API.AI and Gupshup, analytics tools DashBot and VoiceLabs and consulting companies such as Assist, Notify.IO, Witlingo and Spoken Layer. We also created a collection of samples and voice user interface (VUI) resources or you can check out the integrations from our early access partners as they roll out over the coming weeks.

Introduction to Conversation Actions by Wayne Piekarski

Coming soon: Actions for Pixel and Allo + Support for Purchases and Bookings

Today is just the start, and we're excited to see what you build for the Google Assistant. We'll continue to add more platform capabilities over time, including the ability to make your integrations available across the various Assistant surfaces like Pixel phones and Google Allo. We'll also enable support for purchases and bookings as well as deeper Assistant integrations across verticals. Developers who are interested in creating actions using these upcoming features should register for our early access partner program and help shape the future of the platform.

Build, explore and let us know what you think about Actions on Google! And to say in the loop, be sure to sign up for our newsletter, join our Google+ community, and use the “actions-on-google” tag on StackOverflow.