Google I/O was today, and naturally there were quite a few announcements. Google Assistant featured prominently in the various announcements today, so let’s take a look at what they had to say.
Google Assistant got the most screen time during today’s keynote, and for good reason. Google wants to stuff Assistant into anything it can, and let it learn and assist in whatever ways it can. Scott Huffman, VP of Engineering for Google Assistant, reiterated the company’s desire for Assistant to be “A conversation with Google to get things don in your world, your own individual Google.” Key improvements for Assistant include it becoming more conversational. They want Assistant to be hands down the easiest way to complete a task, and that’s more likely to happen via conversation and natural language as opposed to keywords and awkward phrases.
Assistant will also (as previously mentioned) get Google Lens baked in to allow it to answer questions using visual context. This could include simply translating text from a sign, and then asking for more information on what the sign says without reiterating what you’re looking for. The example they gave was for a Japanese menu. The translation did what it was supposed to do, providing the name and price of the menu item. The follow up question of “what does it look like?” brought up image results of the menu item from the image without specifically asking for that menu item. Scanning a marquee sign promoting a concert might let you save the date to your calendar, order tickets, or find songs by the artist.
Maybe the most immediate news about Google Assistant came when Scott announced that Assistant would be available on iOS today. He also mentioned that they’re allowing developers to cram Assistant into whatever devices they’re building, and mentioned that the “Google Assistant Built In” branding should appear on these devices in the future. Google Assistant will also be available in more languages in the near future, including French, German, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, and Korean.