Google Devs Can Tap Into Assistant via Home Hub

Google Home

Google Home

Chatbots and artificial intelligence (A.I.) have taken over the digital landscape of late. To help encourage more developers to jump onto its platform, Google has opened up “actions” on its Assistant platform, allowing devs to create their own conversational experience.

Google’s video (below) provides a solid overview of what this means for everyone:

Sadly, third-party apps still can’t be treated as default services for Google Home. So if a user would rather check the weather using a favorite app, they’d first have to ask Home to allow them to converse with the app – then ask what the weather is like.

Google does have a fairly robust site for best practices on tapping into its Assistant, covering not only the how-to on building a chat experience but how it defines a good conversational experience.

Still, it’s clear Google Assistant is basically voice search. In the video above, you can tell the recipe app is parsing keywords like soup, chicken and tomatoes – then combining them to return a suggested recipe.

Unsurprisingly, this all leans on API.AI, a conversation platform Google snapped up in September. But for Assistant and Home to branch out beyond simple search, third-party developers are critical.

Eventually, developers will have more toys to play with, too. In addition to letting them build experiences for Home, Google says it will eventually open up the opportunity to developer conversations using the Pixel phone and Allo messaging app.

If there’s one knock on this bit of news, it’s that this new developer toolkit doesn’t really go beyond what Amazon’s Alexa can do with the Echo. All told, the experience on Home with these “actions” is very much like Alexa.

The bright spot? Google has a robust developer base and is putting a lot of energy into Assistant and Home early on. It’s also making good on its API.AI purchase.

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