OK Google, let's see what you can do.
Google's AI-powered Assistant is the standout feature of the Pixel and Pixel XL. The Assistant is baked into the Pixels, and is available as a chatbot in Google's latest messaging app Allo. The Assistant is an evolution of Google Now, and will make its way on products beyond phones and smartwatches, like Google Home.
Interactions with the Google Assistant are conversational in nature, and the service does a great job of remembering your line of questioning. For instance, you can ask the Assistant about the first Doctor Who episode, and it'll give you the details in the form of a card containing air date and additional information. Later, if you ask a question along the lines of when the next season will air, it will remember the earlier thread and surface results about the upcoming season.
The goal is to make the Assistant personable and readily available to answer your queries. The service is still in its infancy, but the advantage with Assistant is that it can readily draw on a huge pool of data from Google's knowledge graph. As more and more users start using the service, it will use its AI smarts to deliver better recommendations.
In this guide, we'll showcase how the Google Assistant functions within Allo. Think of it as a primer on what the Assistant is capable of today. Given that the underlying functionality of the Assistant is the same across devices, there won't be vast differences in implementation when using the service in Allo, the Pixels, or Google Home. That said, we'll expand on its integration within the Pixel and Pixel XL in a separate guide.
Here's what you can do with the Google Assistant.
How to subscribe to daily alerts in Google Assistant
Google Assistant lets you subscribe to receive news stories, weather information, fun facts, poems, currency exchange rates, and more on a daily basis. The Assistant will automatically use your current location for weather alerts, but you can specify a different location.
When it comes to news, you'll be able to select publications and categories. You can then select a particular time for the Assistant to deliver the daily briefs. Once you're subscribed, you can at all your active subscriptions or make changes by asking Assistant, "Show active subscriptions."
How to use Google Assistant to unwind
Feeling bored? You can ask the Google Assistant to play songs and videos, tell jokes, and if you're in the mood to procrastinate some more, you can also play puzzles and games with the service. Just say "let's play a game," and you'll see options for solitaire, tic-tac-toe, chat games (guessing Hollywood movies based on emojis is harder than you think), quiz games, and more. Games featured in Google Doodles are also available, including Pac-Man, Rubik's Cube, and Beethoven.
How to use Google Assistant to set reminders and alarms
With Google Assistant, it's easy to set alerts, reminders, timers, and more. Just ask the Assistant to set a reminder for a specific date, choose the time, and you're done. The reminders are contained within Allo and don't show up in other services like Keep or Google Now.
How to search your photos using Google Assistant
If you're looking for photos of a particular place or person, Google Assistant will be able to search through your Photos library. You'll also be able to set search parameters based on when the photos were taken. It's a nifty feature if you're looking to access a photo quickly. You can also ask Assistant to surface all images taken at a particular location.
How to use Google Assistant to find your emails
You can search through your Gmail inbox directly from Allo. Assistant will be able to show you your most recent emails, or you can search for mails from a particular person, or emails from a specific day.
How to see your calendar entries in Google Assistant
Assistant integrates with your calendar to surface upcoming appointments. Just ask, "What's my agenda tomorrow?" and the Assistant will show you your calendar entries for the following day. As Allo has access to your calendar, you can also create new calendar entries from within the messaging service.
How to find things to do nearby with Google Assistant
If you're looking to go out, the Assistant can recommend nearby restaurants, pubs, hotels, and other places of interest. You can also search for movies playing nearby.
How to use Google Assistant to solve math problems
What good is a voice-guided assistant if it can't help you solve math problems? Just ask Assistant your query, and it'll give you the result immediately. It won't be able to solve complex equations, but if you're dealing with percentages or currency conversions, the Assistant comes in handy. You can also ask the Assistant for algebra formulas, and it'll surface a cheat sheet of basic formulas. Wish I had this when I was in high school.
How to use Google Assistant to book a cab
Google is set to add third-party integration to the Assistant via "Actions on Google," through which you'll be able to use the service to interact with third-party apps like Uber, and Spotify. Once the integration goes live, you'll be able to book a cab on Uber, control music playback on Spotify, make reservations on Opentable, and much more using Assistant.
The added functionality will give Google Home a massive boost Amazon's Echo, which has steadily picked up more features over the course of the last two years. We'll hear more about Assistant's third-party integration in December.
That's it — for now
That's a quick list of things Assistant is capable of. The service is still in a preview stage, and as such you'll find several instances where it isn't quite up to the mark yet. Google says that the Assistant will leverage machine learning to get better at recommendations over time, and the upcoming third-party integration will make it much more useful.