Like Android, Google Assistant is also a platform for third-party developers creating apps. Google today is making it easier to build Assistant Actions with new development tools and core platform features, like Continuous Match Mode.
The company during the VOICE Global livestream reiterated that Assistant is used by over 500 million users every month across more than 30 languages and 90 countries. Google says this growth is due to people wanting a “more natural way to get what they need.”
Google is starting by simplifying how developers create Actions. Instead of having to switch back and forth between the Actions Console and Dialogflow, Google’s new solution is a web-based IDE called Actions Builder.
It allows you to manage Natural Language Understanding (NLU) training data and provides advanced debugging tools. And, it is fully integrated into the Actions Console so you can now build, debug, test, release, and analyze your Actions — all in one place.
Meanwhile, a new Actions SDK is aimed at developers that prefer using a local IDE. It provides a file-based representation of an Assistant app:
The SDK not only enables local authoring of NLU and conversation schemas, but it also allows bulk import and export of training data to improve conversation quality. The Actions SDK is accompanied by a command line interface, so you can build and manage an action fully in code using your favorite source control and continuous integration tools.
As part of this release, Google is replacing Dialogflow as the “preferred way to develop conversational actions on Google Assistant.” Meanwhile, Google has updated Assistant’s runtime engine to deliver faster and smarter responses for Actions. Third-party apps are able to better understand users with the same amount of training data.
To make possible more interactive experiences, Google Assistant will soon support a Continuous Match Mode. This — following explicit disclosure by Assistant— will keep a device’s microphone on for the duration of an Action so that users can speak without waiting for app prompts. This capability is rolling out over the new few months.
For example, CoolGames is launching a game in a few weeks called, ‘Guess The Drawing’ that uses Continuous Match Mode to allow the user to continuously guess what the drawing is until they get it right.
Meanwhile, a new Home Storage feature provides a “communal storage solution for devices connected on the home graph and allows developers to save context for all individual users, such as the last saved point from a puzzle game.” Updated Media APIs will support users resuming content after a pause.
The last update today brings Accelerated Mobile Pages to Smart Displays. This extends the web to a new surface, though Nest Hubs and other devices have long featured basic browsing capabilities. Later this summer, AMP news articles will appear to allow for one-off, on-device reading. More types of content will soon be eligible.
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