Last Updated on November 10, 2020 by Sean B
Chatbots are everywhere these days and being one of the biggest players in the tech world, Google had to step up. Google Assistant is a virtual assistant developed by Google that is available on all Android devices, and it is arguably the world’s most advanced personal assistant.
Google Home, now called Google Nest, is Google’s smart speaker lineup created and commissioned by Google under their brand Google Nest. These smart devices let users speak to them and command them with natural language commands. The system working at the backend of these devices is the same Google Assistant software that is available in Android devices.
Google Assistant is an virtual assistant, an advanced version of an AI chatbot, that enables you to perform tasks smartly and in a faster way. Developed by Google, it is primarily available on Android smartphones and Google’s smart devices. Google Assistant is the evolved form of Google Now. Google Now was Google’s previous personal assistant software, which was only capable of one-way conversation and was not able to reply in natural language.
The main mode of interaction with Google Assistant is through voice, but it can work with keyboard input as well. Google Assistant has all the capabilities you can look for in a virtual assistant like searching the Internet, scheduling events and alarms, adjusting hardware settings on your device, and showing information from your Google account. The added features of Google Assistant include the ability to identify songs playing nearby, visually analyzing and searching your surroundings with your device’s camera, sending money, and making purchases.
Google Assistant was introduced back in May 2016 when Google released their messaging app named Allo and the voice-activated smart speakers called Google Home, now Google Nest. At the start, the assistant was only available on Google’s own Pixel smartphones, but by the start of 2017, it was made available on all smartphones running on Android OS and in Android Wear. The assistant was made available as a stand-alone application on iOS by the mid of 2017. In the same year, Google Pixelbook became the first-ever laptop to have Google Assistant built into it, and all Android TVs released after July 2017 also come equipped with Google Assistant. Google Pixel Buds also have the assistant built into them.
Google announced they were going to release smart displays powered by Google Assistant at CES 2018, and the first one was released in July, the same year.
As of now, Google Assistant is available on more than 1 billion devices, supports 30 languages, and is used by 500 million people every month across 90 countries.
Google Assistant is equipped with an algorithm that helps it learn more about the user with the passage of time. Once allowed to do so, it can keep the track of the user’s search history, YouTube history, frequently visited places, and other preferences and gives suggestions based on that. IT can keep track of the physical activity of the user, remember important dates and events, organize your calendar, and can do much more.
Google is also fueling research on third-party apps to work with Google Assistant. The initiative, known as “Actions on Google” is started to give the developers the liberty to create apps that can work with Google’s smart devices. In 2017 Google even released a software development kit (SDK) that can make it possible for third-party developers to embed Google Assistant into their own hardware and the beneficiaries include Raspberry Pi, Volvo, Audi, and many smart home appliance, manufacturers.
The latest development from Google, which is way ahead of any other AI assistant platform, is Google Duplex. Introduced in May 2018, this software is capable of executing the tasks assigned to it on its own without the need for any input from the user. Some of the things Duplex can do include calling a doctor or a hairstylist to get an appointment, scheduling restaurant and hotel reservations, and calling places to ask if they are open or not. Duplex is capable of recreating pure human conversation style by adding hmm, uh, um, and gotcha in its dialogue with humans.
Google Nest (Formerly Google Home)
Google Home was released in the US at the end of 2016 and globally by 2017. It is a smart speaker that is powered by Google Assistant. The speakers are pretty much similar to Amazon’s Alexa. The speakers now also come with displays built into them. Users can control music playback, videos, and photo displays on these devices entirely by using voice commands. Google Nest devices now fully support home automation and enable the users to control various smart devices in their homes with voice commands.
Google has been developing and adding new functionality to the Google Nest devices via software updates. These updates include the functionality of connecting and syncing multiple smart speakers to play one audio file. These devices are also capable of multiple user control and can distinguish between 6 different people from the household and come up with solutions and suggestions according to the user interacting with them.
Google also introduced the ability of hands-free calling with zero cost across the US and Canada in 2017. Google Nest devices can now remind users proactively ahead of events and appointments. They can also create visual responses on smartphones or Chromecast supporting televisions.
Data and Security for Google Assistant and Google Nest
In order to be able to use Google Assistant or Google Nest services, you need to have a Google account. If you are using Google Assistant on your smartphone, your Google account from the device will be used. In case you are using it from a Google Nest smart device, you will need to create an account and sync your device with it using the Google Home mobile application.
Google’s voice technology can be used to unlock your device by saying “OK Google”. This can work for a smartphone as well, and there have been cases where people were able to unlock a device by playing a recording of the user’s “OK Google”. It is a security vulnerability you need to be aware of. Google Nest devices also need authorization for doing certain tasks, and they also recognize their owner using the same “OK Google” method.
The Final Verdict
Personal Assistants are becoming more and more common, and they are no longer a tech gimmick and rather becoming a necessity. They simplify a lot of tasks for us. Google is ahead of all other tech companies in terms of Personal Assistants.
There is simply no comparison between Google Assistant and Apple Siri or Amazon Alexa, or any other personal assistant for that matter. Google’s Assistant can converse with the user and others just like humans do and can complete many tasks with complete autonomy. Google has also introduced the assistant in their smart devices, the Google Nest speakers. All of these devices make interacting with the internet and with your smart appliances easy and efficient. There are, however, some security loopholes that Google needs to take care of.