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Google Assistant

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Google Assistant is Google's voice assistant AI for Android devices. It provides a virtual personal assistant experience through a natural language speech interface to perform a variety of tasks.

Examples of how Assistant can be used include the following:

  • Pull up a boarding pass at an airport to speed up the check-in process.
  • Retrieve a summary of exercise activity (i.e. miles walked or calories burned).
  • Receive news updates.
  • Check current traffic conditions and follow navigation instructions via Google Maps.
  • View current weather conditions.
  • See updates on sporting events.
  • Set reminders and alarms.
  • Find information about restaurants, concerts, movies, or other attractions.
  • Answer questions via Google search.
  • Integrate home automation with Google Home.

As a voice assistant, Google Assistant adds two-way conversation abilities to Google's earlier assistant service, Google Now, which is a web and text-based service. Assistant uses cognitive computing, machine learning and voice recognition technology.

Assistant's development began in 2016 and was intended for use with Google's Allo messaging app and Google Home smart speaker. Aside from typical tablets, smartphones and notebooks, Assistant was also built into Android Wear 2.0 for wearable technology, with Android TV and Android Auto integration to follow. According to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Assistant was designed to be a conversational and interactive experience, and "an ambient experience that extends across devices."

Other digital assistants on the market include Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, Google Now and Microsoft's Cortana.

This was last updated in August 2017

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