Google unveiled several new features on the first day of its I/O Developer Conference on Tuesday (May 8). The additions range from visual assistants on Android phones to a new calling feature that connects consumers with local businesses.
Through a feature dubbed “Duplex,” for example, Google Assistant will be able to help users call businesses, TechCrunch reported. The technology could help make consumers make an appointment at a salon or a reservation at a restaurant, for example.
The assistant can not only make the reservation request — it can also understand more complex conversations. And it can add natural-sounding language to conversations such as “ummm.”
Still, the feature, which was demoed at Google’s I/O Developer Conference, has yet to go live. But the tech company plans to roll out a test of the feature over the summer.
Mark Sullivan, director of demand generation at CallRail, said Duplex is a natural progression for Google: “Google, for instance, wants to make our lives easier, and Duplex is just another way they are doing this,” Sullivan said.
Google also plans to bring its visual assistant to Android phones this summer, TechCrunch reported. Through the feature, consumers can interact with smart home products such as thermostats. If a consumer makes a query such as “what is the temperature right now,” for example, a display will pop up on his or screen — and allow the consumer to change the temperature.
In addition, consumers can access visual information such as directions to work or reminders. The thinking behind the feature is to enable consumers to go about their day without having to go through the trouble of multiple taps of the keyboard.
And, in other conference news, Google is rolling out support for digital subscriptions within Google Assistant’s voice apps, TechCrunch reported. The apps are known as “actions,” and, with the new support, consumers will be able to buy premium content through an Android app that they can later find in a Google Action. Google also created Action Links to allow developers to promote their voice apps.