Google Assistant gets a new look, contextual smart home controls, and more
Google Assistant just got a little bit betterBy Cohen Coberly
Google Assistant is one of the most common virtual assistants built into modern Android smartphones - even in phones that have their own proprietary AI, like Samsung's Bixby, Google Assistant makes an appearance.
Given its widespread adoption and popularity, it's not hard to see why Google has put so much focus on making Assistant as user-friendly as it can possibly be. That focus has been made even more evident today - Google has revamped the Assistant interface while adding a few helpful new features in the process.
For starters, buttons, images, text, and other on-screen Assistant elements have all been scaled up for easier viewing and tapping. Furthermore, contextual controls now exist for smart home-related voice commands. For example, if you ask Assistant to dim the lights in your living room, a slider might pop up that allows you to adjust the brightness more finely. The same concept applies if you ask Assistant to lower or raise the volume of a nearby smart speaker.
Assistant also has an "interactive messaging interface," which will apparently allow you to "add a comma, change a word," or make other "quick edits" using your finger. It's not entirely clear what this feature will look like -- Google Assistant doesn't work on my device, so I can't test it -- but it will presumably streamline the process of typing out lengthy messages.
In addition to the more personal features mentioned so far, Google is also giving app developers and companies the ability to "take full advantage" of a user's screen within Assistant. Starbucks could include images of recommended menu items, for example, and a workout app could show you GIF previews of exercises.
The final new feature worth noting is the "day overview" tool. By swiping up on the Assistant interface, you'll be able to view upcoming meetings, flights, medical appointments, as well as recent orders you've placed through Amazon.
If you want to take Assistant's new features out for a spin, they should begin rolling out to compatible devices today.