May 18th, 2016

Google just made their first blockbuster announcement at Google I/O 2016 — it’s Google Assistant. It’s awesome. It’s Google Search as you know it, with the virtual assistant nature of Google Now.

Only, it’s a LOT more smart now. Most of your Google searches will start with your usual terms, and Google will return relevant results, but you can go deeper with those queries with natural language responses.

google assistant conversation 2 (1)

Google’s example was looking to see a movie nearby. Type “What’s Playing Tonight?” in Google Search and it shows you a big list of films being shown at your local theaters. That’s been possible for quite some time now.

But it’s how deep that conversation can now go that has us impressed. If the movies aren’t fit for the kids, say “we want to bring the kids,” and Google will show kid-friendly movies. You could then say “book us tickets,” and Google will take care of the order for you, afterward spitting out a receipt and your digital ticket that you can redeem with a QR code.

google assistant conversation (1)

It’s Google like we’ve known and loved all this time, but far more rich, smart, convenient and deep than we’ve ever seen. Google will have APIs available for developers to tap into so their apps can take proper advantage of the Assistant’s power.

Beyond all that, Google Assistant is also going to be the basis for the new Google Home, messaging apps, and many other services where you might find an assistant helpful. It’s an entire platform of Google-powered virtual assistant action, and it’s going to be hard for many others to match the Mountain View company’s efforts.

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