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Google Allowing Third-Parties to Build Custom Commands for Assistant

10 March 2018

Not really the showiest of SXSW announcements, but Google's got a nice little update for developers looking to differentiate Assistant integration on a product level.

A couple of proofs of concept are coming to SXSW for this new Custom Device Actions program by Google for Google Assistant.

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The Media Playback controls will enable content creators to allow access to a range of new media beyond the podcasts and music controls we've seen previously with support for "TV shows, interactive stories, meditation, relaxing sounds, and news briefings" being added.

Early adopters of the media response API include CNBC and The Daily Show. Google will allow developers of Actions to plug into digital purchases including paid app purchases, in-app purchases, in-app subscriptions and the likes. Previous carousels made available to developers could be used for visual aids but were made primarily to lead back into a voice experience. Additionally, users can now use voice commands to pause or replay media. Working with Google to add Google Assistant voice command recognition to their system was possible before; it's just that now, with this new feature, it's a whole lot easier. TV shows like The Daily Show will have segments available for playback and general show information.

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The Assistant was first rolled out in smartphones and Google Home speakers, but now it is present in many devices such as smoke detectors and alarm clocks.

Further, users will be able to subscribe to notifications from Actions. According to a blog post by Google, Assistant Actions will now support "Custom Device Actions". For instance, you can be notified of news alerts when they happen.

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Meanwhile, expanded notification features for Assistant Actions are now out of beta. Esquire and Forbes are a few websites taking advantage of this new ability. For example, you can tell the Assistant to "set the oven to convection and preheat to 350 degrees." all in one command. It also means you won't have to use the annoying "Talk to [blank]" command.

Google Allowing Third-Parties to Build Custom Commands for Assistant