Google Assistant Adds New Productivity Features and Shows up in Apps
Google announced this morning in a blog post that Google Assistant is getting several new productivity features. The most impactful is likely to be a remote messaging feature called broadcast. Previously, you could only broadcast from one Google Home device to the others in the household. Now you can broadcast from your smartphone-based Google Assistant.
“Starting today, you can broadcast your voice from your Assistant on your phone or voice-activated speaker, like Google Home…If you’re just leaving the office, you can let your family know you’re coming with a simple “Ok Google, broadcast I’m on my way home!” to the Assistant on your phone, and it will broadcast to your Google Homes.”
This feature began rolling out yesterday in Australia, Canada, U.K., and U.S. More countries are promised “soon” but this a rare feature release that is starting in multiple countries and not just the U.S. Redditors will be thrilled.
A More Useful Communications Assistant
The broadcast feature extending outside the home is an example of how assistants can have a lot of value beyond the smart speaker. Voicebot released the Voice Assistant Consumer Adoption Report yesterday and it goes into depth around voice assistant use cases on smartphones. Communication use cases are the second and fourth most frequently used by consumers today. Extending that connectivity beyond a one-on-one communication to a broadcast to multiple recipients is a valuable extension. I tried this today and there is no set-up involved. Just ask Google Assistant on your smartphone to broadcast a message and it is nearly instantly delivered to the Google Home devices.
The reverse is supposed to work as well, but that feature is not yet available. When it is implemented, a Google spokesperson indicated in an email that the broadcast will appear on the phone as a transcribed text message and the recipient will be able to respond either by text or voice. The extension of the broadcast feature is a good example of how voice assistants can be helpful outside the home while leveraging the installed infrastructure that smart speakers represent.
New Routines Access and Faster Podcast Listening Show Google Assistant Embedded in Apps
Custom routines added to the Clock app on Android shows that Google Assistant will soon be integrated with core applications. So, it won’t necessarily be going to Google Assistant to conduct tasks, but you will be able to access it from the apps you are already using. Another example is that Google Assistant can now be used to change the speed of playback of podcasts and audiobooks by simply saying “Hey Google, play at twice the speed” or “play faster.” Phase two of voice assistant adoption will include many more examples of features beyond the smart speaker. Google has a clear lead in this segment today.