At the Google I/O 2017, Google announced a whole bunch of new updates for their favourite AI, the Google Assistant. But they also announced something that many probably didn’t expect: The Google Assistant can now help you from your iPhone.
Oh boy, I wonder how Siri feels about this.
In addition to support for iPhones, Google’s Assistant has been upgraded in three fundamental ways.
Being more conversational
The first builds on how you interact with the Google Assistant. Although Google still believes that the best way to get things done is through conversation, they now seem to understand that’s not always idea. And that makes sense because you really don’t want to be shouting at your phone in the subway. Or when you lose your voice.
So now, you can actually type to your Assistant. But that’s not all. Google has also implemented a new feature called Google Lens which allows you to interact with the Google Assistant through vision and what you’re looking at.
It will allow users to get the Google Assistant to translate stuff using your phone’s camera (sort of like Google Translate’s word lens). Once that’s done, you can actually continue the conversation and get the Assistant to show you pictures of what they’ve translated, all without leaving the app.
The Google Lens also lets the Assistant recognise signs and understand what’s written on those signs. One example shown demonstrated the Google Assistant recognising a sign advertising a live show and create prompts which allow you to buy tickets to the show, play music from the band and create an event in the calendar.
— Google (@Google) May 17, 2017
Google Lens can also understand locations and places, combining what it sees through the camera lens and matching it with your location to show you location information too.
What’s more, users will soon be able to do all of these things and interact with the Google Assistant in a whole bunch more languages. The Assistant will begin rolling out (this summer) in Brazilian Portugese, French, German, and Japanese with support for Italian, Spanish, and Korean set to arrive by the end of the year.
listening available, everywhere
Next, Google is also pushing to have the Google Assistant on all your connected devices (powered by Android) so it can be with you wherever you are. And that’s where they dropped the bombshell that it would also be on the iPhone. The only drawback is that the iPhone version of the Assistant can’t do as much as it can on Android phones so its abilities are limited to more general tasks like getting answers from Google Search, play music on Spotify and send a message via iMessage.
Google is also strengthening its integration into various platforms with the release of the Google Assistant SDK. They also announced that they’re working with various consumer brands to stick the Assistant in as many products as they can. Soon you can look out for stickers that say “Google Assistant built-in” towards the end of the year.
Ready to help through Actions on Google
With the Google Home, users were able to do a whole bunch of actions with just their voice. Now, Google is expanding that support and bringing Actions on Google to your phone as well making transitions from the Google Home to your phone more seamlessly.
But that’s not all. Actions on Google will now also be able to handle transactions. This means that you can order stuff through the Google Assistant, like delivery from your favourite restaurant, customise your order and pay for it through Google Pay.