Google announces improved conversational AI with Assistant

Google's I/O 2019 developer conference kicks off today, and the firm showed off some interesting new features for its Assistant. Most of it had to do with more natural interactions, something that Microsoft also showed off with Cortana at its Build 2019 conference. But while Microsoft focused more on the enterprise environment, Google focused more on how people can use it in their everyday lives.

First, Google showed off giving Assistant continued commands without having to always say, "Hey, Google". You can tell Google to check the weather, then send a text message, then launch Twitter, and so on. The language used it meant to be more natural as well.

Continued conversations were first shown last year, although this year's is much improved. It's more interactive, and it's more natural.

Also shown off was dictating an email. The presenter said to compose an email to someone and almost immediately started dictating the message. Assistant automatically added the proper punctuation and when she was done, she simply had to say, "send it".

But the company also showed off conversational AI. This allows for an actual dialog between the user and the Assistant. It's also a complicated problem to solve in terms of AI, since the potential questions and results get exponentially more complicated as the conversation continues.

You'll be able to make more natural requests now, such as, "Show me pictures of my son" or "Remind me to buy chocolates on my anniversary". There's also a "You" tab where you can customize the information that Google Assistant knows about you.

As for when all of this will be available, it will first show up later on this year with the new Pixel phones, which will likely be in October. Google didn't say when you'll be able to use it on other Android devices.

One other thing, which isn't specific to a device, is Duplex on the web. The example used is asking Assistant to book you a rental car, right through the browser. Google will share more on this later this year.

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