Google Assistant announcements you may have missed from Google I/O 2019

A new generation of the voice assistant is coming

Assistant changes announced at I/O

Another year of Google I/O is in the books, and it's time to catch our collective breath and look over the biggest announcements around one of the company's major products – Google Assistant.

Yes, while the, quite frankly, odd changes to the Home Hub family and a cheaper smartphone (snore) were the key hardware highlights, there were plenty of tidbits regarding Assistant that you may have missed throughout the 90-minute show.

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Let's detail all the most important changes coming to the voice assistant, whether they're rolling out immediately or coming later this year.

A next-generation Google Assistant

As shown off in an on-stage demonstration, Google Assistant is soon set for a radical improvement at its very core. Response times are getting shorter – instantaneous, pretty much, if the demo is anything to go by – and Assistant will be smarter, making something like Continued Conversations really flow.

According to Google, it's found new pace by shifting the data model over to the device, cutting down the data needed to take on your command from 100GB to 0.5GB. Real-time requests, as a result, will be 10 times faster than the current Assistant can handle.

It's not yet clear when the new and improved Assistant will make its way onto Google's crop of home devices, with it first launching on Pixel later this year, but you can bet it'll be sooner rather than later.

Smart Displays get personal

Google Assistant announcements you may have missed from Google I/O 2019

There's a wealth of untapped potential through the Smart Displays software platform, and Google knows it. So, coming later this summer, users will be able to see 'Picks for you' – personalised suggestions for recipes, events and podcasts.

How does it work? Well, say you've asked Assistant for Caribbean recipes a couple of times in the past – your 'Picks for you' section will then likely offer suggestions in the same ballpark. And cleverly, it'll use contextual tells, like the time of day, to know whether you'd prefer a breakfast or dinner recipe.

How Assistant will decide the recipes, events and podcasts that make it to the top of your picks isn't yet clear, making it an interesting case to watch in the lingering issue over advertising through its home products.

Duplex is expanding to the web

Duplex was the big talking point coming out of last year's show, and even though it took a bit of a back seat at 2019's I/O, we still got a neat update on its progression. Google has announced that Duplex, after being tested in limited cities on phones over the past 12 months, will now be expanding to the web.

As shown in the demo above, the aim is to simplify online exercises like making a reservation – just like before, really. So instead of navigating your way through eight pages of confirmation details, Duplex integration will mean that Google will be able to hold your hand and help you fill it out more quickly. Hopefully, anyway.

It's coming later this year in English to the US, while Duplex will be rolling over to the UK on Android phone before the year is out, too.

Assistant is going on a road trip

Google Assistant announcements you may have missed from Google I/O 2019

Google already has its Android Auto platform for cars, but it's now offered an easier way to get Assistant on the road – and all you need is your phone and a dock.

The new mode creates a new dashboard for your phone, putting navigation, messages, calling and music front and centre. However, the dashboard works on recommendations, suggesting some of your popular routes. Or, if say you have an upcoming dinner reservation in your calendar, it'll suggest setting a route there.

To launch the new mode, you'll just need to say, "Hey Google, let's drive" and stick your phone in a dock on your car's dashboard. The new mode will arrive on Android phones later this year.

Stop your alarm or timer – finally

Rejoice, Home and Smart Displays owners, you'll no longer need to shout every time you want to turn off an alarm or timer. From now, when it's ringing in your ears, you'll simply need to say, "Stop", instead of, "Hey Google, stop the timer/alarm."

It's already rolling out on all home devices in English-speaking countries. And, call us small-minded and basic, but this is might be our highlight of the whole event. Now, let us never shout at our Google devices again.


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