Google Assistant Gaining Support for Routines, New Languages, Multilingual Support, More

Google today announced a bunch of updates for Google Assistant which will make the assistant smarter and more useful. Firstly, Google has started rolling out Routines to Assistant users. Initially announced last year, Routines will allow users to chain multiple actions into one voice command.

You will have to create routines beforehand for it to work though. So, for example, you can set up a “Good night” routine which will automatically turn off all the smart lights in your room, set an alarm, and more. Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri already offer a similar feature so Google is simply catching up to the competition here.

Secondly, Google is expanding support for location-based reminders in Assistant to more devices. Up until now, this feature was only available on Android devices but Google is expanding it to Google Home devices as well. Additionally, Google announced that it will be adding support for more languages to Assistant throughout 2018, with the total tally of supported languages reaching 30 by the end of this year. Some of the new languages that will be supported include Hindi, Swedish, Indonesian, Norwegian, Thai, and more. More importantly, perhaps, Google is adding multilingual support to Assistant which means it will be able to understand commands from multiple languages at the same time. Sadly, multilingual support will be limited to English, French, and Spanish initially.

Google is also working with OEMs for deeper Assistant integration in their devices. While Assistant already works on a majority of all Android devices out there, Google wants to take this integration to the next level. As seen on the Pixel 2, Google wants to add support for device-specific commands to Assistant so, for example, one could say “Ok Google, take a selfie” to quickly take a selfie. Google is currently working with LG, Sony, and Xiaomi for tighter Assistant integration on their devices.

Finally, Google will also work with carriers under its Google Assistant Carrier program to offer Assistant integration to them. It says by integrating Assistant, carriers will be able to offer customers information about their monthly plan, new services, and more through the virtual assistant.

Our Take

The addition of Routines and support for new languages will help widen Assistant’s user base. While Google’s assistant is already considered to be smarter than Siri and Amazon’s Alexa to an extent, it seriously lagged behind them in this regard. Thus, its good to see Google getting around to fixing this issue. However, Google has only announced support for additional languages for now, with no word on when it would be actually rolled out.

[Via Google]