In addition to announcing a pair of new iPhone apps for messaging and video calling and a preview of its Amazon Echo-killer, the Google I/O 2016 keynote saw some pretty exciting news regarding the search giant’s all-new two-way conversational assistant, coming soon to all your devices.
Named Assistant, it’s a big upgrade to Google Now that builds “on all our years of investment in deeply understanding users’ questions”.
The new system offers a conversational two-way dialogue between you and Google that understands your world and helps you get things done. You can ask it to buy movie tickets, find a restaurant, navigate you to locations and more.
A Google for you, by you
In addition to voice-activated mode, Assistant can be a chat bot as well, which users can interact with using text messages. We first saw glimpses of the Assistant in Google’s recently released Gboard keyboard for the iPhone.
Here’s Assistant’s UI animation.
Liki Siri, Assistant is an ambient experience that works seamlessly across devices and contexts and can be asked follow-up questions. For instance, after asking about the weather tomorrow in your location, you can then follow up with, “How about next week?” and it’ll know you’re referring to the previous question.
Assistant will power Duo, Google’s new smart messaging app slated to hit iOS and Android this summer, and is already widely used in the native Google search app, available free on the App Store.
You can expect Assistant to become integrated into virtually every device Google makes, as well as its most important consumer-facing services and mobile apps.