Google is announcing a lot of upcoming updates for the Wizard today, but one arrives immediately: routines, a feature announced in October that will allow the Assistant to perform multiple actions at once from a single command that he set up in advance. It is a simple concept, but it should be a practical addition for people with many smart devices for the home.
The other two announcements that are made today will arrive throughout the year: a deeper integration between the Assistant and smartphones and operators. The first may sound strange: the assistant is already integrated into your phone, after all, but it is not yet tightly integrated with the hardware and software specific to each device. Therefore, in the future, you may be able to say: "Hi Google, start the augmented reality mode of my camera" and it will open directly to that function.
Operators and phone manufacturers have to add support, and it may not
Google is working with Android phone manufacturers so they can add this type of specific support to their devices. At first, it will only be for camera functions, but the company imagines that it will expand to almost anything else that its hardware partners can think of. With some phone manufacturers pushing their own smart assistants, it's possible that not everyone will join this, but the skill seems like it should be useful where it's compatible. The first partners will include LG, Sony and Xiaomi.
In addition to phone manufacturers, Google is also working with wireless service providers to integrate their services with the Assistant. At a basic level, this will allow you to verify the amount of information that is left in your monthly allowance or even allow you to add more data or completely change your plan. The integration could also be deeper: Nick Fox, the product leader for the assistant, says that Google could help operators with triple play packages by integrating with things like DVRs, so you can configure them to record from your phone .
It is unclear how much of that will come in the near future, it is not even clear when the first features will be released, but Google says it is working with operators to build it and indicates that those it is working with are supportive. Fox says that this is not comparable to the integrated operator applications. Instead, it's supposed to be a way to interact with those services without having to install something. The first partners include Sprint, Koodo, Telus and Vodafone.
At least initially, the integration of the operator will not be perfectly natural. Basically it will be like any other action of a third party: you will have to say something like, "Hey, Google, ask Sprint how much data I have left", instead of just asking "how many minutes?" It fits me? "And your phone automatically knows you're on Sprint thanks to your SIM card, it's kind of weird, because operators could build these features themselves if they wanted, but Google seems to be doing it or working closely with them to make it happen. These are features that seem useful to incorporate, and I can certainly imagine revising my data plan more frequently if I could ask.
In addition to these features, Google also announced some important language updates for the Assistant today. It will be expanded to 30 languages by the end of the year, and eventually you can automatically detect in what language you are speaking.