Google Assistant has been roaming Planet Earth for more than two years now, and in that time it's come on leaps and bounds. Sure, Alexa might have been on the scene first, but Google has worked double time to get Assistant to a point where we believe it's the most intelligent smart assistant.
And then suddenly, we'll come up against a missing feature or a pain point that utterly frustrates us. Or we just notice something that should be there.
So we've put our heads together and come up with a list of features we want Google to add to its Assistant. Whether it's the Google Home or another Assistant-powered or connected device, we've picked out our most-wanted improvements to perfect Google's AI.
Improve room transfer for music
Music control with the Assistant is steadily improving, but transferring music from room to room, for example, is still clunky as hell. Now, if youâre a Spotify subscriber, you can actually start playing your tunes in one room before asking Google to play music in the vicinity of another enabled device, where itâll pick things up.
However, for those streaming music from any other platform (even Google Play Music â WTF), or firing the music to a speaker from your phone, Assistant is clueless. Google needs to cut the rigamarole attached to its music transfer and let you shift from room to room by just a simple, âContinue playing my music on Kitchenâ.
Sort out Google Assistant on TVs
Why canât we use Google Assistant exactly as we would on a smart speaker, on any sort of Google-powered TV? There are different features on Android TV and Chromecast-enabled TVs and itâs all a bit of a mess.
Bring Netflix voice controls to Android TV
If you read about Netflix voice controls coming to Google Assistant and you own an Android TV, you probably thought you could get involved. Not yet. Once youâve set up Voice Match, you can bop straight to your personal profile and it works with a Google Home/Chromecast or Chromecast built-in TV, but still not with Android TV. Apparently, itâs âcoming soonâ. Come on, then.
Different wake word options
Being able to mix up the wake word may be a basic request, but itâs one that would pay direct dividends. Saying âHey Googleâ or âOK, Googleâ never feels quite right, and the fact that the company has yet to introduce some options to change it up is a little disappointing. Amazon, for example, lets you say âAmazonâ, âAlexaâ, âEchoâ and even âComputerâ to kick things off. Even being able to say just âGoogleâ to start a command would be more preferable, wouldnât it?
Send text messages
Google Assistant can send texts from your phone, but itâs still a no-go on Home speakers, which is all the more surprising when you can send messages from Alexa (so long as youâre on Android) and the HomePod (iPhone).
Tie Podcast app and controls together
Please can we have a built-in Cast button on the Google Podcasts app? Third-party apps like Podcast Addict have it. Oh, and syncing between voice controls via Assistant and the Podcasts app need to be improved because it wasnât working for us, switching between the smart speaker and our phone.
Give it a name
This one probably wonât happen because Google really likes the idea of you saying its name every time you use its products, but a name would give the Assistant a bit more personality. Especially as weâre probably not going to be able to select our own pet word any time soon (letting users create their own wake words risks too many false positives, same reason you can't do it with Alexa).
Adjust the volume to my voice
Google has a night mode feature that dims the lights and the sound when you want a bit of quiet time, but sometimes during the day â especially first thing in the morning â we donât appreciate Google yelling at us. Obviously you can adjust the volume at any time, but wouldnât it be great if Google registered how loudly you were speaking to it and responded at the same volume? What we're saying is: Google needs to learn a hangover voice.
Better wake word recognition
There's nothing more annoying than a voice assistant that thinks it hears a wake word. We've had both our Google Home Mini and Lenovo Smart Display accidentally think someone was saying the wake word when we were just having regular conversation. We haven't had this many false positives with either Alexa or Siri.
Improve speed on Android TV
Assistant through Android TV may have got a bit of a cosmetic upgrade earlier this year, but itâs often still too slow to be your reliable go-to. Itâs nice to be able to use the TV to control the home, sure, and chaining commands works nicely, but just asking for the football score shouldnât mean waiting 15 seconds for Google to pipe up. Itâs a simple refinement that could make Assistant much more attractive to talk with. Plus, Amazonâs Fire TV is really quick.
Make it less fragmented â somehow
This is a pretty niche request, but the two-year-old daughter of one of our editors got pretty sad when the Nest Cam IQ, which now acts as a Google Assistant controller, wouldnât play Old Macdonald Had A Farm. We get that cameras arenât speakers, but it could quickly get confusing if features are completely different across devices.
That's our wish list for Google Assistant, but we know we're not the only ones who have hopes and dreams for the smart assistant. Let us know in the comments below what you'd like to see Google bring in the future, or which ones from our list you want to see most. Who knows, the company may even take note of the ideas.
â Shin MikeZilla #FilmExiles (@Velkro16) September 23, 2018
The ability to change the name of the assistant. And for US only features to be rolled out worldwide at the same time.
â Studio 35 (@studio35online) September 23, 2018
Here is a good list of feature improvements for #GoogleAssistant. I really would like a different wake word! I'd also like speaker to speaker intercom in addition to broadcast!#makegoogledoit@theambienthttps://t.co/FTWfPl6AdIpic.twitter.com/k40lUU1BE7
â HomeTechHacker (@HomeTechHacker) September 22, 2018