Google Assistant is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered virtual assistant developed by Google that aims to primarily ease your life through its interactive features designed to tackle the everyday mundane activities we all go through like booking a restaurant or checking the weather or sending a message through its powerful AI assistance.
Know About Google Assistant
Initially what debuted as a feature of the new Google messaging app, Allo, soon became a standout feature of all the android devices after spending a period of exclusivity with the Pixel and Pixel XL Smartphone.
Currently, the assistant is being developed to further penetrate cars and also other third-party smart home applications. Until now, it is already being extensively used in almost all Android devices along with third-party smartphones and Android Wear (now Wear OS). Even for iPhone users, it can be accessed through a standalone application.
How Do You Work With it?
So the operation with Google Assistant is pretty simple. Users basically interact with it using their own voice.
You can also use the keyboard to interact through texts. The assistant is capable of (when given the correct permissions of course.) to set alarms, schedule events, and book dates on the calendar along with the ability to search the internet to check for news, movie timings, restaurants nearby, a route to some other place, travel tickets and MUCH MORE.
The assistant is quite frankly your own personalized J.A.R.V.I.S just a little less cool (a lot less but okay).
What Devices is it On?
The Google Assistant has supported a LARGE number of applications apart from each and every android device that is. This cavalry of devices that support Google home are many third-party devices like
- Amazon Alexa
- Apple HomeKit
- Belkin WeMo
- Philips Hue
- Samsung SmartThings
and almost 400 or so more. Yes, 400!!!!!!
Basically, the different types of devices that are compatible with your Google Assistant are Thermostats, Bulbs, Security devices and Locks, hubs, speakers, smart fridge and microwaves along with other small to large appliances.
How Do I Start it?
Summoning Google Assistant is a pretty simple task. For any device in your house along with smartphones and essentially anything else you have hooked your Google Assistant with can be summoned to cater to your wishes through the words
“Ok Google” or “Hey Google”
These words are your ‘Open Sesame’ when it comes to Google devices. However, this means that the Google devices are pretty much always listening and on the lookout for when you would say Ok Google or Hey Google. This could be in many cases something that might concern you as far as your privacy is concerned.
Rest assured the device does not store any audio it listens to continuously while it isn’t summoned, it just detects the noise and continuously checks if the sound it hears resembles Ok Google or Hey Google.
All the other noise is deleted, claims Google.
Even still, if you are not convinced of the claims, you have the option of turning off the microphone through the settings. Only now you would have to manually tap and click or something in order to use the device which basically destroys half its purpose.
Let us now move on to how exactly the devices and the assistant functions. We would be focusing mostly on the Google Assistant and its prowess while also discussing much later about the different devices and some of their functionalities.
Google Assistant On Your Android or iPhone
Google Assistant is amazingly resourceful as it can perform and carry out hordes of different commands and tasks that you bestow upon it ranging from setting alarms to playing recipe videos of your favorite dishes as you attempt to cook them.
Whether you need a reminder to pick up some milk, help to find your travel photos or need to make a dinner reservation, your Assistant is ready to help. To get started, press the mic icon or start typing.
Stay in Touch With Hands-free calls, Texts, and Emails
Your Assistant makes it fast and easy to stay connected to those who matter most. Make calls, send text messages and draft emails to your contacts.
“Read my unread texts”
“Text Sam ‘On my way'”
Get Duick Directions and Local info
Quickly find answers about businesses, restaurants, and attractions, including business hours, traffic info and Google Maps directions. You can also find the best restaurants or find car parks near you.
“How’s the traffic to work?”
“Where’s the nearest coffee shop?”
“Give me directions to the airport”
Play Music and Videos With Your Voice
Find music based on a genre, play your favorite songs, playlists, podcasts, and music videos, or find the perfect tunes for activities like cooking, studying or working out. You can also skip songs and adjust the volume.
“Play workout music”
“Play my Discover Weekly on Spotify”
“Set volume to 50%”
Get Convenient Help Throughout The Day
Stay on top of your schedule and manage your calendar so that you don’t forget important appointments and meetings. Set reminders and get alerts so that you can tick off your daily to-dos. Your Assistant makes it easy to take notes, set timers, add items to your shopping list and set alarms.
“Remind me to drink water every morning”
“Add eggs and bread to my shopping list”
“Set an alarm for 7.00 a.m.”
Search The Web and Get Quick Answers
Find fast answers to your questions while you’re out and about, or at home. Get real-time weather forecasts and updates, find how-to videos, check sports scores, search the web or get language translations when you’re abroad.
“What’s the weather like this weekend?”
“How much is $50 in Rupees?”
“Tell me the latest news”
These were some of the basic features of Google Assistant. That is not even the tip of the iceberg though: p
Bored in the office? You can even have fun with your Google Assistant now! Want to talk to John freaking Legend? You CAN!!!
Just simply ask your Google Home to “talk like a legend” either by speaking it or typing. You will have John Legend respond to a few questions that you might ask him and also you can have him sing. Yes. SING. (one of the many easter eggs in Google Assistant) some of the questions that you can ask him are
- “Tell me a joke.”
- “Who’s your celebrity crush?”
- “Compliment me.”
- “Do you know Chrissy Teigen?”
- “Serenade me.”
- “Sing me a song.”
- “Are you John Legend?”
- “Sing Happy Birthday.”
- “How are you?”
- “What’s your favorite song?”
- “What’s your best pickup line?”
Now, let us walk through the app of Google Assistant through its different features, options and more.
Different Features of Google Assistant
Once you have downloaded your app and started it, it would sync to your Google (Gmail) account that you are using to operate your smartphone. After that, it would come up with the following screen.
The permission dialogue would keep on popping many times until you have chosen to either give or deny permission to the Google Assistant to interact with different devices like your camera, microphone, contact list, etc. in case you want to change the settings, you can always go to your phone settings and change them later on.
Now, once you have given permission, you would be able to see the following screen on your smartphones.
You can easily click on any of the options based on what you want to do. Also, these are just examples of the type of things your assistant is capable of doing. You can just as easily tap on the mic button and say set alarm in order for the assistant to set an alarm for whenever you wish.
Send The Message
Here, I clicked on the send a message option and you would notice how I was taken to the next screen in order to send the message.
Now I can simply tap on the message line and choose the contact I want to send the message to.
This was an example of the types of functionalities that Google Assistant is capable of assisting with. You can just as easily check the current weather not just in your location but in any other listed city as well. Similarly, you could play music, check something on the internet, make a note or schedule an event on the calendar with absolutely no work from your end.
Now, we would move on to other areas of the Google Assistant app set up where you might need some assistance :p
If you tap on your icon that appears on the top right of the page, you would be taken to another screen wherein you would have multiple options like the ones you would be noticing pretty soon.
The first tab to check out for on this screen is the Devices tab.
This shows the current device on which the app is running, which in my case was an iPhone. After that, you also have the add device option wherein you are allowed to synchronize external hardware like the types of devices we mentioned before ranging from best Bluetooth speakers, LED bulbs to hubs and Smart TVs.
Moving on we have the Your info tab which once filled would house your personal information like your address (home, work, etc.), your important contacts like mom, dad, siblings or other friends or family along with the preferred weather unit (Fahrenheit, Celsius ).
You also can store any payment method if you would want to along with your purchases and other information.
Next up we have services that the Google assistant can provide ranging from following stocks, listening to songs, setting alarms, taking notes to show you the latest news.
Next up we have some new features and more from the assistance which is more or fewer things that would make your usage of the assistant even more simpler. We would delve into some of these a little bit deeper.
One of the most important features here is the
In this, you can continue a piece of conversation for a few seconds after you have completed your previous task without having to use the words Ok Google or Hey Google again. So basically, your assistant’s sensors remain on for a few seconds after the previous command is executed in order to understand any other command that you might give.
If it doesn’t receive any command, it goes to sleep again.
You can say, “OK, Google, what’s the weather?” After it tells you the weather, say, “What about tomorrow?” Then you could say, “Remind me to bring an umbrella tomorrow morning,” all without ever having to repeat the wake phrase. You can turn off this feature in the app if you don’t want the mic to stay active.
You are thus having a string of conversation with the bot and it is way simple and almost feels like how you would talk to an extremely helpful friend.
Recently, the string command feature was also enabled in Google home which allows you to shelve out tasks in multiple in the same sentence. So now, you can say something like
“Hey Google, play ‘Zinda ho tum’ on Spotify and set the volume to ten”
“OK Google, what’s the weather and turn on the bedroom lights.”
Things keep getting cooler and cooler, don’t they?
Honestly, this is still not half of what your assistant can actually do if provided with the right commands.
You can also set routines that would be helpful in performing a multitude of tasks with a single command.
Like if you want that when you say Ok Google Goodnight, the app should perform some particular tasks like texting your mom Goodnight, setting an alarm for 7:00 AM the next morning and also mute the mobile phone, you can DO it!!!!!! Even this is not as cool as what it can be.
In case you have other devices like LED lights and speakers connected to the Google Assistant, then you can program your bot to follow a set of commands like Wishing you Goodnight and at the same time dimming off all the lights in the room.
The app also offers multilingual support as you cannot expect everyone in the world to know English. As of now, Google Assistant is offering a total of 6 languages which are English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Japanese.
Your bot can simultaneously recognize any two of the following and can give and also take commands in both of those languages.
FUN WITH NUMBERS AND MATH
Math: “OK, Google, what is 48 times 11?” or, “OK, Google, 7216 plus 406?”
Count: “OK, Google, count to 50.”
Measurements: “OK, Google, how many kilos are in 100 pounds?”
Roll a die: “OK, Google, roll a die,” or “OK, Google, roll a 12-sided die.”
Flip a coin: “OK, Google, flip a coin.”
Random number: “OK, Google, give me a random number between 5 and 50.”
Currency conversion: “OK, Google, how much is 100 Dollars in Rupees?”
Stocks: “OK, Google, how are Alphabet’s stocks doing?”
Words: “OK, Google, what does serenity mean?”
Spelling: “OK, Google, spell hippopotamus.”
Special events: “OK, Google, when is Diwali?”
People: “OK, Google, who is Mahatma Gandhi?”
Facts: “OK, Google, how tall is Will Smith?”
Things: “OK, Google, what is Ganga?”
Places: “OK, Google, what country is Taj Mahal in?”
Animal sounds: “OK, Google, what does cow sound like?”
Distance: “OK, Google, how far is office from here?”
Restaurants: “OK, Google, what are the nearest restaurants to me?”
Businesses: “OK, Google, are there any printing press around here?”
Quotes: “OK, Google, give me a quote” or, “OK, Google, give me a love quote.”
Medical information: “OK, Google, what is hypothermia?”
Calories: “OK, Google, how many calories are in a Banana?”
Authors: “OK, Google, who wrote Catcher in the Rye?”
Inventors: “OK, Google, who invented the Light Bulb?”
Get voice shopping instructions: “OK, Google, how do I shop?”
Order items from Google Express: “OK, Google, buy dish soap.”
Check the shopping list: “OK, Google, what’s on my shopping list?”
Track orders: “OK Google, where’s my package?”
Reorder a previously purchased item: “OK, Google, reorder Old Spice deodorant.”
Add to the shopping list: “OK, Google, add bread to my shopping list.”
Play music: “OK, Google, play some music,” or, “Play some rock music.”
Play ambient sounds: “OK, Google, play white noise.”
music Play an artist or song: “OK, Google, play Linkin Park,” or, “Play Catalyst by Linkin Park.”
Now, this is a cool one
If you can’t remember the song’s name, you can even just start with the song lyrics and the Google Home device would recognize the song. For ex: “OK, Google, play the song that goes, “Is this the real life?'”
Ask what’s playing: “OK, Google, what song is this?” or, “OK, Google, what album is this?”
Get more information: “OK, Google, when did this album come out?”
Fast forward and rewind: “OK, Google, skip forward 2 minutes,” or, “OK, Google, skip backward 30 seconds.”
Set a sleep timer: “OK, Google, stop in 20 minutes.”
Like or dislike a song on Pandora: “OK, Google, dislike this song.”
Play an audiobook: “OK, Google, read my book,” or, “OK, Google, read The tale of two cities.”
Jump audiobook chapters: “OK, Google, next/previous chapter.”
Ambient sound: “OK, Google, play soulful music.”
Play music on YouTube Music: “OK, Google, play Coldplay on YouTube.”
These were some of the many features available for use in Google Assistant. Most of these features generally work with a Google Home device or such but many works juts using the Google Assistant app on your mobile as well.