Google I/O 2019 is just over a month away, and we may have our first preview of something Google is going to demonstrate during the keynote. A new Chromium code change listed as being “for internal review” reveals a demo of the Google Assistant using context to recommend an action and automatically performing it in Chrome for Android.
The code change, posted this afternoon, does not make much of an attempt to hide its purpose, with some pieces of code labeled triggerGoogleIOStuff. Its presence at Google I/O is further confirmed by code from an earlier mock-up.
Rather than a functional new feature, the code seems to be designed to act as a visual mock up of an upcoming integration of the Google Assistant into Chrome for Android. This makes sense for a stage presentation where only the appearance is important, not the functionality.
In the mock up example that we may see on the Google I/O stage, the Google Assistant knows that you have an upcoming trip to Chicago. Based on what it knows about your trip, Chrome will display a card from the Assistant. This card will offer to book a rental car for your trip with National Car Rental.
Details of exactly where and when this card will be shown are still somewhat unclear, but one early proposal indicates that certain websites will trigger the Assistant and download the necessary script(s) to autofill for that website. For example, navigating to NationalCar.com could trigger the Assistant to suggest a booking based on your travel information.
Should you choose to go ahead with the booking suggestion, many details of your booking will be “autofilled,” such as the dates and times and the pickup and return locations, using your flight details. Payment will be handled using the cards you have saved to Google Chrome, though this is not shown visually in the current mock-up. Should anything change about your trip, you can even adjust your booking directly from the Assistant.
In Chromium code, this feature is referred to as “Autofill Assistant” and is not exclusive to car rentals. In early designs of the Autofill Assistant, it was used to purchase movie tickets. Surely many more use cases are planned, with Google likely opening the Assistant in Chrome to partners. Given its tight connection to “payment requests” in Chrome, most actions for the Assistant will likely be purchase related.
Update 11:20am: Both code changes were taken down, but we managed to save some of the contents before this occurred. Here’s one relevant code snippet indicating Google I/O:
If Google does announce this feature at I/O in May, as the code points to, we may see it premier shortly after, as Autofill Assistant has been in development since at least July of last year.