Ads, it seems are coming to Google Assistant on Android with Google set to make the powerful assistant more interesting with better visual responses. What that means is that when next you ask the assistant a question, you going to get responses that show the standard Google Search layout. I am sure you know what that means—it responses will not only look like what you have in Google Search, but with ads as well.
Going forward, all responses will look exactly like what you would usually see if you query a search from your mobile browser. Prior to Friday’s tweak, the assistant would show a pared-down version in response to your queries.
While this minor tweak makes the assistant more attractive to users, it has a downside—you will start seeing ads. Maybe a few ads to kick off the new layout, but there are chances that Google may increase the number of ads as time goes on.
Google’s Senior Product Manager Danielle Buckley provides more insight into the new update: “This update includes responses with cards that clearly present the key information you’re looking for. In addition to a new interface for categories like events, you’ll also get access to useful tools like the tip calculator, metronome music pacer and bubble level. Ask your Assistant for “Events in Mountain View” or “Why is grass green?” to check out some of these new responses.”
Google Assistant still won’t be able to provide you with complete answers to some of your search queries, but will instead show you links to various sources so you can learn more. “In these cases, you’ll see the full set of search results from the web. When relevant, these results may include the existing ads that you’d see on Search today,” Buckley said.
During the week, Google launched its first celebrity voice for Assistant with John Legend as the first to be added by the company. For a limited time, users will be able to hear the voice of Grammy Award winner John Legend sing “Happy Birthday” to them, hear about the weather, and answer questions like “Who is Chrissy Teigen?” everywhere Google Assistant is being used—Android and iOS devices including.
John Legend along with five other new Google Assistant voices were previewed at Google I/O 2018. Google used the occasion to preview its speech synthesis model WaveNet, which is powered by its DeepMind artificial intelligence to the whole world. WaveNet works by sampling human speech and directly modelling audio waveforms from it—enabling it to create more realistic-sounding voices.
Users can activate Legend’s voice by saying “Hey, Google, talk like a Legend” or simply go to Assistant voice in their Settings to switch to his voice. John Legend’s voice is one of many more celebrity voices that will be coming on to Google Assistant in the foreseeable future. For now, the feature is only available in English in the US, and hopefully it spreads to other regions too.