Google Assistant adds Custom Device Actions for Developers

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Google has extended access to its voice assistant so developers can create custom commands and add native features specific to their smart home devices.

For instance, the maker of a smart dishwasher can use Google Assistant to ask its machine to start a hypercycle. And thfeature need not be found on all dishwashers.

How It Came to Be

Before the announcement, developers had limited power to build custom commands through Actions.

Actions are apps controlled with your voice through Google Assistant. Through it, you can use Google’s digital helper to read the news, check the calendar, control your smart home and more.

Google Assistant first launched on Android devices and the Google Home smart speaker. Now developers can use it to control different gadgets such as smoke detectors and alarm clocks.

But right now, devices with native support for Google Assistant can only use a few universal commands such as on, off, and dim.

So, Google is relegating work on advanced products to device makers’ developers through a new Actions feature called Custom Device Actions. This allows more flexibility and expands support with custom commands.

How It Will Affect Your Daily Life

On Friday, Google announced the new feature in a blog post. It set a washing machine as an example.

With Google Assistant built in, a washing machine no longer limits itself to regular on and off commands. The developer can create commands specific to the cycle supported by that machine. For instance, you ask it to “start the color cycle” and behold its power.

Google also suggested how oven makers can tap into the feature. Developers can program voice control for specific commands such as setting the oven to convection and preheating to 350 degrees.

The tech giant will most likely have all device makers use similar commands gradually as specific features become universal.

For device makers, the best action plan is to dig deeper and capitalize the use of custom commands while they still can. It gives them more control than what Google’s native commands cover. It also sets them apart from competitors.

Google went a step further. Using Esquire.com as an example, the company said developers can now enable notifications for specific actions such as sending wisdom tips of the day. Actions now support media playback from Google. Developers no longer need to build commands for basics like pause and play.

Live Demos

To highlight the potential of Custom Device Actions, Google showed robots sorting socks and serving beers in a Google Assistant Fun House at the SXSW festival.

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Apart from Custom Device Actions, Google announced the following:

  • Sending notifications to your phone through specific Assistant Actions
  • Improved media playback abilities for Actions

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Author: Francis Rey

Franz believes voracious readers become good writers. So, he reads anything that piques his interest. He spends his downtime on road trips and binges.

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