At VOICE Global on Wednesday, Google announced a number of changes to the core Google Assistant platform and development tools. The new functionalities will help Google Assistant ‘truly be the best way to get things done’, the company said. The changes include a new web-based IDE called ‘Actions Builder’, an updated Media API and the ‘Continuous Match Mode’.
Actions Builder is a web-based IDE that offers a graphical interface to show the entire conversational flow. It also allows developers to manage Natural Language Understanding (NLU) training data and advanced debugging tools.“It is fully integrated into the Actions Console so you can now build, debug, test, release, and analyze your Actions – all in one place”, said the company.
Google is also releasing an updated Action SDK that “not only enables local authoring of NLU and conversation schemas, but it also allows bulk import and export of training data to improve conversation quality”.
Alongside Action Builder and Action SDK, Google also introduced a new conversation model and improvements to the runtime engine. “Now, it’s easier to design and build conversations and users will get faster and more accurate responses”, the company said.
Google also added a new functionality to build more interactive experiences on Google Assistant. Called ‘Home Storage’, the feature allows developers to save personal data for multiple users on a single device. What it will do in essence, is allow games and apps to remember where you left off, so that you’ll be able to start off exactly from there rather than having to start afresh.
The updated Media APIs also now support longer-form media sessions, enabling users to resume playback of content across devices. “For example, users can start playback from a specific moment or resume where they dropped out of their previous session”. This continuity across multiple devices will, in theory, enable you to pause a podcast on a speaker and continue on a TV thereafter.
Continuous Match Mode
Finally, there’s the Continuous Match Mode that will allow Assistant to respond immediately to pre-defined words and phrases. To do this, the mic will stay open for a prolonged period of time, enabling users to speak more naturally with Assistant. Google says the process will always be transparent, and Assistant will warn before leaving the mic open.
AMP on Smart Displays
Google also announced that AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages, will soon come to smart displays via Google News. There’s no more info on this right now, but Google says there will be more updates about this soon.