The Google I/O 2018 Keynote took place yesterday and, as suspected, focused quite a bit on AI. One of Google’s products is getting some pretty interesting features thanks to Google’s WaveNet conversational AI project in Google Assistant.
For starters, Google Assistant uses the voice of “Holly,” the current voice code for the company’s digital assistant. Most users interact with Google Assistant via voice and through development with WaveNet, which was announced 18 months ago, Google has added six new voices for users to choose from for their assistant. Later this year, fans of singer John Legend will also be able to pick his voice for select responses.
A couple other new features that Google Assistant is getting is Continued Conversation which will be rolling out over the next few weeks. As the name implies, this allows you to follow up your initial conversation without having to say “Hey Google” over and over again. Support for multiple commands — dubbed Multiple Actions by Google — is also rolling out and will allow users to ask their assistant to, for example, turn on the bedroom lights and turn off the TV with a single phrase. For those concerned that their kids are becoming too bossy with Google Assistant, the company also added an optional Pretty Please feature which allows the assistant to provide positive reinforcement when kids ask it to do things politely.
While all those features are fine and dandy, the one I’m still wrapping my head around is the fact that Google Assistant will soon be able to make a call and make reservations or appointments for you and even get the hours a business might be open by calling them and then updating Google Maps with the hours for that day — especially useful for holidays and days where businesses might carry irregular hours.
Seriously though, watch the video showing the Google Assistant making appointments and reservations below:
I’ve watched that video about a dozen times and am still blown away with how natural both those assistants sound, not to mention how the latter understood and adjusted the conversation based on the restaurant’s responses. You can read more about Google Duplex over on the Google AI blog.
In case you missed the keynote, you can watch it in its entirety below.
What do you think about the new features being added to Google Assistant? Will you be using it to book yourself an appointment or reservation once that functionality is rolled out? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.