Soon You Won't Have To Say 'Hey Google' To Launch Google Assistant

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During this year's SXSW convention in Austin, Texas, Google's got its Google Assistant on full display at the Google Assistant Fun House.

Assistant Actions now support something Google is calling "Custom Device Actions". Google says Assistant Actions now support a feature called Custom Device Actions, which allows an Assistant device to use more specific voice commands.

According to The Verge, with this announcement, Google has handed off some of this work to manufacturers which would reportedly give the companies more flexibility and make Assistant more helpful.

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Days after Google announced the rollout of Actions on Google Assistant in seven new languages, including Hindi, it has brought another update with more new features.

These zany abilities aside, Assistant now supports better media playback integration, extending its functions beyond just podcasts to TV shows, interviews and interactive stories, along with support for a better carousel inside the Assistant window for more convenient interaction with visual content. New Actions on Google for developers mean new Assistant features for everyone. Using a subscription, users will be able to subscribe to a piece of information from a third-party like Esquire or Speedybit, to receive updates on things like the price of Bitcoin or value of a stock, or even the weather. There are changes on the way to media playback, Assistant-enabled devices, and subscriptions.

Google sometimes stealthily deploys new features here and there in Assistant without telling us, but today's update is a big one with some fanfare.

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On smart speakers, users will be able to control audio playback verbally, while Android devices gain standard media controls in the notification drawer and lock screen. Developers of Actions do need to add this feature, so not all of them will work out of the gate. There aren't many examples of hardware with built-in Assistant yet, but developers will be able to include custom commands in them going forward.

An example the company cites is the distinction between a general instruction that goes "Turn on the oven" and the more specific "Set the oven to convection and preheat to 350 degrees". Before, you might say something simple like "Ok Google, turn on the oven".

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