Pixel 4 compact Google AssistantSource: Android Central

What you need to know

  • At the Voice Global 2020 conference this week, Google announced several new features coming to Assistant.
  • Made in place of its annual I/O conference, the announcements were aimed mainly at developers, but give a glimpse of the added smarts consumers can expect in the future.
  • One such use case is multi-device playtime continuity.

Having lost the ability to make a splash with new features at Google I/O this year, the Mountain View giant took to the Voice Global 2020 conference to announce its plans for Google Assistant in the coming months (via Android Police). While most of the announcements were targeted at developers, they also give us a glimpse of what consumers can expect from Google's virtual assistant in the future.

On the consumer side of things, most of the new features relate to improving the overall user experience in terms of continuity. Assistant can now save session information for multiple users on the same device; thus, it can now remember where you left the latest episode of Billions versus where your sibling did, even if you're both using the same device.

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The same concept was also extended to multiple devices, as Assistant can now remember a user's context across devices. This means that you could start listening to a podcast in the kitchen, and when you access Assistant a few hours later via the Nest in the bedroom, it'll remember where you stopped and resume playback from there.

A Continuous Matching Mode (CMM) can also allow developers to instruct Assistant to keep the device's mic on for easier and more natural conversations. Assistant will always alert users when this is about to happen, though, so you can rest easy about your privacy. Google lists CoolGames' upcoming "Guess the Drawing" game as one example of how CMM can enable new experience on Assistant; with CMM, you can keep making guesses without having to prompt Assistant to turn the microphone on again and again.

For developers, the most interesting of these announcements is likely going to be Action Builder, a web-based platform for developers to build out a conversation tree for Assistant Actions visually. You can read more about the new dev tools here.

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