Google Makes Chatting Easier With Its Assistant – TechCrunch

Google today announced three new features for its voice-activated Assistant that will make it easier and more natural to interact with it.

The first is to make it easier to initiate a conversation with the Assistant by simply looking at a device like the Nest Hub, with its built-in camera, and speaking to the Assistant without using the “Hey Google” wake word. This will roll out later this week for users pairing their Nest Hub Max with an Android device, while iOS users will have to wait a few more weeks.

Image Credits: Google

The other new feature is expanded quickphrase support, i.e. the ability to use a quickphrase to answer a phone call, turn off the lights, or ask about the weather, all without having to use a wake word either. This means that in the future, you can simply set a timer without saying “Hey Google”. Google notes that this is an opt-in feature and will use the company’s Voice Match feature which is already available on the Nest Hub today.

Copy of Quick Phrases

Image Credits: Google

Finally, Google is also making some changes to the way Assistant handles your requests so it can better understand your intent, even if it has to correct you or take little pauses while you think about how you want to phrase it. your question, for example.

“We realize that when evaluating real conversations, they are full of nuance,” said Nino Tosca, director of product management for the Google Speech and Google Assistant team. “People say ‘uh’, interruptions when two people talk back and forth, pauses, self-corrections – but we realized that with two humans communicating, those things are natural. They don’t really hinder people who understand each other. [ … ] We’re trying to bring these natural behaviors to the Google Assistant so a user doesn’t have to think before saying a command – or process the command in their head, making sure they get every word right. , then trying to get it out perfectly. We want you to be able to just talk to the Google Assistant like you would another human and we’ll understand the meaning and be able to carry out your intent.

google natural conversations

Image Credits: Google

Unfortunately, this feature is still in development but is expected to roll out in early 2023. Google has always used I/O to showcase upcoming features, although some of them never launch, so we’ll have to wait and see where this one goes.

Overall, though, these seem like nice additions to the Google Assistant feature set. Saying “Hey Google” gets old fast, after all, and still feels a little weird. Indeed, I can’t help but feel that the shine has faded a bit from the Assistant (and its competitors). Personally, despite having a bunch of Nest Hubs and Google Homes around the house, I don’t think I’ve used them for anything other than turning on the lights using their touchscreen and setting the occasional cook timer during of the last few months. Google has big ambitions around ‘ambient computing’, but when the Assistant misunderstands you and starts randomly playing a Justin Bieber video on your TV, it seems that future still needs some sorting out. . Anything that removes these barriers is welcome.

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