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Google Assistant updates announced at I/O 2018


The Google Assistant was first announced during Google's 2016 I/O developer conference and now two years later, the company had several updates they wanted to share regarding its evolution.

Google has shifted its focus heavily toward artificial intelligence and machine learning, and the importance of Google Assistant in this endeavor is very clear from today's announcements.

More Natural Voices

During the keynote, Google's CEO Sundar Pichai stated that once of the biggest goals for Google was to make Google Assistant more "natural and comfortable to talk to." As part of this initiative, the company plans to introduce new voices for the Assistant.

Originally, Google has a real person sitting in a studio for hours at a time, recording various audio responses to potential requests a user could make. Now Google is able to use a breakthrough form its machine learning DeepMind team to make artificial voices sound more natural, using a feature called WaveNet.

Thanks to this, Google will be able to introduce six new voices with different accents and tones, allowing the user to pick their favorite. Eventually, Google hopes to make the right accent to its global user.

Google has also used their WaveNet technology to bring John Legend's voice to Google Assistant. While the singer/sound-writer didn't have to spend hours recording his voice, the technology is able to simulate responses in his voice through Assistant. Users to be able to experience John Legend on their Google Assistant later this year for certain contexts.

Less "Hey, Google" with Continued Conversations

One of the annoying things about the Google Assistant is having to repeat the phrase, "Hey, Google", every time you want to get it's attention. Google agrees, and has introduced a new feature called 'Continued Conversations', which allows you to speak to the Assistant without having to repeat "Hey, Google", every time.

Continued Conversations will be released to Google Assistant in the coming weeks.

Multiple Actions

The Google Assistant is getting a lot smarter with it's Multiple Actions feature, which will be able to distinguish when an 'and' means a request should be parsed into parts, and when it shouldn't. Users will not have to ask requests separately when they need information about more than one person or team. Google will understand what you are asking, and provide separate information when requested.

Pretty Please

The Google Assistant is always at your service, but Google wants to make sure that parents are able to teach their kids to be polite in public after hours of interacting with their smart technology at home. With the new 'Pretty Please' feature, the Assistant will recognize when a kid asks politely and will respond saying that they are doing a good job being polite. This feature is coming later this year as an option for families.

A more visually appealing canvas

Google wants to make the Assistant look more visually assistive with a brand new look. The updated interface will offer more relevant information on your phone or other smart screens. Google Assistant for Android will receive the updated interface this summer with the iOS version being updated later this year. The goal here is to thoughtfully integrate voice and visuals together in a new way for users.



But what about when you are driving ? When you want the information to be precise and minimal ? Google has you covered there too, with Google Assistant making its debut within Google Maps.

New Food and pick up and delivery services

Other enhancements to Google Assistant include the ability to carry out complete conversations with business like a hair salon to book you an haircut appointment, a restaurant to book a table, or a clinic to book a doctor appointment.

Its quite impressive to see how advanced the Assistant has grown, allowing to carry out meaningful interactions with businesses without much effort from the user.
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