At Google’s annual developer conference, Google introduced Assistant to the iPhone and outlined a number of features that enhance its capabilities beyond anything we’ve seen before.

Speaking of the iPhone, one must admit that Apple’s default virtual assistant, Siri, has never been very smart. It also doesn’t help that Siri is only comfortable with Apple services, many of which don’t work in India. Siri also struggles to understand Indian accents.

Google, on the other hand, has put in a lot of effort into helping its own virtual assistant better understand human speech and myriad accents.

Google Assistant can control your home, take control of your television, make calls for you, manage your calendar, leverage Google services for your benefit, give you visual responses to queries and all the other assorted things that you’d expect any virtual assistant to take care of, including Siri. Assistant does all of this, but more intelligently.

For example, Assistant can understand different voices. If you tell Google to “play my dance playlist,” Google will play your dance playlist, not your sister’s or your mom’s, but yours.

Google IO 2017 (122)

Assistant also understands context and can converse more naturally. In an example shown on stage, Google translated some text in Japanese to English. The text referred to an item of food. When Assistant was asked “What is that?”, it understood that the user was requesting information about the translated text and because it was food, immediately threw up images of the item in question.

Try getting Siri to do that.

The image recognition features are particularly fascinating, as they extend beyond mere translations. The features are part of the Google Lens platform, but they essentially bring an augmented reality like experience to your smartphone.

You can type to Google Assistant now, which means that Assistant can even handle your queries in noisy environments. Assistant can also be trained to perform certain actions when certain keywords are triggered, and these can be customised. For example, you can program a keyword like ‘Good Night’ to trigger a Google Home profile for night time in your house.

these features aren’t coming to Google Assistant just yet, but they will be rolled out over the next few months. Whatever the case, Assistant is already more capable than Siri on the iPhone at the very least, and it can only get better.

Publish date: May 18, 2017 3:42 am| Modified date: May 18, 2017 3:42 am

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