Google today announced a handful of new Assistant features, while making others more widely available. The biggest lets iPhone owners find misplaced devices using Google Smart Displays and speakers as Assistant Routines availability expands.
“Hey Google, find or ring my phone” is a very helpful command in the home. On Apple’s platform, Assistant currently places a regular phone call to your mobile number. The experience is more optimized on Android with the voice command working even if Do not disturb is switched on.
A similar capability is now coming to iOS through the Google Home app. Once users set up critical alerts, they can get “Finding your phone with Assistant” notifications that are accompanied by a custom ringing sound. It will play even if the iPhone is silenced and DND enabled. Behind the scenes, Apple looks to have granted the Home app a special alerts entitlement to bypass current device settings and trigger critical sounds.
Meanwhile, as Google previously telegraphed, Duplex on the web can help with takeout. When ordering from restaurants that appear in the Google app on Android, you’ll first make menu selections like normal.
However, Assistant will be invoked during the final “check out” process to “automatically navigate the site and fill out your contact and payment details saved in Google Pay and synced to Chrome Autofill.” Like with movie tickets (as seen above), a sheet slides up to walk Android users through the process. Google is first partnering with select chains before expanding to more restaurant partners stateside later this year. This capability further grows Duplex, Google’s umbrella term for efforts that help users accomplish tedious, multi-step tasks.
Google is also making sunrise and sunset triggers in Assistant Routines available globally. This redesign to macro creation process includes a carousel of Suggested actions and allows users to place homescreen shortcuts on Android. The revamp first rolled out in December.
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