|Type||Intelligent personal assistant|
Assistant initially debuted as part of Google's messaging app Allo, and its voice-activated speaker Google Home. After a period of exclusivity on the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, it began to be deployed on other Android devices in February 2017, including third-party smartphones and Android Wear, and was released as a standalone app on the iOS operating system in May. Alongside the announcement of a software development kit in April 2017, the Assistant has been, and is being, further extended to support a large variety of devices, including cars and smart home appliances. The functionality of the Assistant can also be enhanced by third-party developers.
Users primarily interact with Google Assistant through natural voice, though keyboard input is also possible. In the same nature and manner as Google Now, the Assistant is able to search the Internet, schedule events and alarms, adjust hardware settings on the user's device, and show information from the user's Google account. Google has also announced that the Assistant will be able to identify objects and gather visual information through the device's camera, and support purchasing products and sending money.
Google Assistant was unveiled during Google's developer conference on May 18, 2016, as part of the unveiling of the Google Home smart speaker and new messaging app Allo; Google CEO Sundar Pichai explained that Assistant was designed to be a conversational and two-way experience, and "an ambient experience that extends across devices". Later that month, Google assigned Google Doodle leader Ryan Germick and hired former Pixar animator Emma Coats to develop "a little more of a personality."
For system-level integration outside of the Allo app and Google Home, Google Assistant was initially exclusive to the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones. In February 2017, Google announced that it had begun to enable access to Assistant on Android smartphones running Android Marshmallow or Nougat, beginning in select English-speaking markets. Android tablets will not be receiving the Assistant as part of this rollout. The Assistant is also integrated in Android Wear 2.0, and will be included in future versions of Android TV and Android Auto.
On May 15, 2017, Android Police reported that the Google Assistant would be coming to the iOS operating system as a separate app. The information was confirmed two days later at Google's developer conference.
In December 2016, Google launched "Actions on Google", a developer platform for the Google Assistant. Actions on Google further enhances the Assistant user experience by enabling developers to bring their services to the Assistant. In March 2017, Google added new tools for developing on Actions on Google to support the creation of games for Google Assistant. Originally limited to the Google Home smart speaker, Actions on Google was made available to Android and iOS devices in May 2017, at which time Google also introduced an app directory for overview of compatible products and services. To incentivize developers to build Actions, Google announced a competition, in which it will select winners based on categories, including "Best app by students" and "Best life hack". Winners will be announced by Google, and the first place wins tickets to Google's 2018 developer conference, $10,000, and a walk-through of Google's campus, while second-place and third-place receive $7,500 and $5,000, respectively, and Google Home.
In April 2017, a software development kit (SDK) was released, allowing third-party developers to build their own hardware that can run the Google Assistant. It has been integrated into Raspberry Pi, cars from Audi and Volvo, and smart home appliances, including fridges, washers and ovens, from companies including iRobot, LG, General Electric, and D-Link.
Google Assistant, in the nature and manner of Google Now, can search the Internet, schedule events and alarms, adjust hardware settings on the user's device, and show information from the user's Google account. Unlike Google Now, however, the Assistant can engage in a two-way conversation, using Google's natural language processing algorithm. Search results are presented in a card format that users can tap to open the page. Google Assistant can maintain a shopping list; this was previously done within the notetaking service Google Keep, but the feature was moved to Google Express and the Google Home app in April 2017, resulting in a severe loss of functionality.
In May 2017, Google announced that the Assistant would support a keyboard for typed input and visual responses, support identifying objects and gather visual information through the device's camera, and support purchasing products and sending money. Through the use of the keyboard, users can see a history of queries made to Google Assistant, and edit or delete previous inputs. The Assistant warns against deleting, however, due to its use of previous inputs to generate better answers in the future.
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