Your Google Assistant is about to get smarter thanks to Actions on Google

Google has opened up the Actions on Google program today, and developers can now start building their own tools and conversational bots for Google Home.

First seen at Google I/O 2016, the Actions SDK brings everything developers need to integrate their services into Google Assistant the same way Pandora or Google Cast is. Once implemented — there is nothing to install and all the integration with services is done through Google's cloud servers — we can tell Google Home that we want to talk to or about a service and the new conversations are ready to take what we say and provide the appropriate response.

Google's Wayne Piekarski walks through a demo using a service they built called "Personal Chef" in the video below. (This will trigger your Pixel or Google Home. Several times.)

Note: The demonstration starts at 1:25

For developers: Google's Conversation Actions web documentation pages are where you'll get started building your services into Google Assistant. You can choose to transcribe and decipher a user's words yourself using the conversation API to process input and use the Actions SDK to process and build actions as intents.If you'd rather not process transcribed speech yourself, you can use which can build out the workflow of a conversation using Conversation Actions. Google also has integrated Gupshup to help build, test and deploy conversational bots and actions on Google Home.

For users: All of this is handled by the folks who built a service and there's nothing to install. You'll be able to tell Google Home you need a thing or want to talk to/about a thing and Assistant will automatically handoff to the correct service the same way things are done now when you tell Google to play a song or cast a video. Seamless integration is what makes Assistant seem "smart".

For now, the service is only available for Google Home but Google plans to bring Actions to Assistant on the Pixel and in Allo in the future. Google also is working on enabling support for purchases and bookings, and developers who are interested in creating actions using these upcoming features can register for the early access partner program.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.