Google Assistant Snapshot Adds Voice Commands and Proactive Suggestions
Google has updated the Google Assistant Snapshot feature with voice command access and a broader variety of information and suggestions. The goal appears to be to encourage people to think of it as a starting hub for any other activities even when the voice assistant is not native to the mobile device.
Wider Snapshot Lens
Snapshot debuted two years ago as a way to visualize schedules, commute estimates, and pending online orders. The utilitarian look made Snapshot seem something like a mobile-optimized version of the long-gone iGoogle homepage platform from an earlier age of the internet. With the update, Snapshot’s screen includes event reminders and suggestions. The screen will include a list of recommendations for activities, including recipe ideas, podcast episodes, and possible restaurants to try based on the user’s preferences.
“In addition to the essential information you’ve grown to rely on like your agenda, commute times and reminders to pay your credit card, you’ll now start to see a summary of other important tasks right at the top—things like reminders for upcoming birthdays and holidays,” Google product manager Jacquelle Horton wrote in a blog post about the update. “Your Snapshot will adjust based on the time of day and your interactions with Google Assistant. For example, in the morning you will see a card about your commute, weather, to-dos and top headlines.”
Google wants both Android and iOS users to rely on Snapshot and included a voice command to pull up the screen instead of relying on people opening the app and tapping on the corner. The Snapshot will appear if the user says, “Hey Google, show me my day,” although presumably, the app will have to be open on iOS smartphones for the voice assistant to hear the command at all. The voice assistant is also more proactive as a result of the update in keeping the user informed and suggesting Google Actions to help navigate upcoming events. When the notification arrives, tapping on it will open Snapshot and provide a list of ideas. If it’s someone’s birthday, Google Assistant might offer to call, send a text, or sing a birthday song with the person’s name.
“Snapshot is the best place to see everything you’ve got going on in one place, and for important tasks right around the corner, Google Assistant will send a notification to make sure you don’t miss it,” Horton wrote. “This is just the beginning. We will continue to explore new ways for Google Assistant to be there to help before you even need to ask for it.”