Hey Google Assistant

From multilingual support and more languages to Routines, Google has been on a roll in recent weeks adding new features to Assistant. The latest comes ahead of SXSW with Custom Device Actions that allow manufacturers to add custom commands for Assistant-enabled devices.

Today’s new features are especially geared towards the smart home and better integrating those gadgets with Assistant. It’s similar to how at MWC Google announced that OEMs can create device-specific Assistant commands to launch custom hardware and software features.

Until recently, device makers big and small had to use the same Google Assistant regardless of whether they were making the Assistant work with phones, fridges or lights. Starting today, thanks to a new feature for Actions called Custom Device Actions, device makers can extend the Assistant and add “native” functionality specific to their device.

For example, users can now activate a washer’s specific color cycle with an Assistant command. At SXSW, the company is showcasing all of this at a “Fun House” with custom smart robots that integrate with the Assistant.

Meanwhile, expanded notification features for Assistant Actions are now out of beta. Users can currently set subscriptions where commands like “what’s the weather?” are sent daily. The new support allows Actions to send alerts like “newly added workout, a change in a stock price, or a news alert, right when it happens.”

Also starting today, Actions will support media playback and controls on speakers and Android devices. This allows for more audio experiences like “longer meditation sessions, relaxing sounds, clips from your favorite TV shows and news briefings.”

On smart speakers, users will be able to control audio playback verbally, while Android devices gain standard media controls in the notification drawer and lock screen.

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com