Google Assistant Now Understands Custom Commands for Third-Party Products

Pablo Tucker
March 10, 2018

Of all the features, the ability to issue complex commands seems most promising, as it'll significantly increase the number of things Assistant-powered devices can do.

For example, Todoist, the project management app, comes with support for Actions, in regards to hyper-specific commands to the app like "Mark the first task under Project 'make your graduation film' as done'". Google will allow developers of Actions to plug into digital purchases including paid app purchases, in-app purchases, in-app subscriptions and the likes.

It's a small, but nice addition as makers of smart home products look to distinguish themselves in an increasingly crowded market for smart home devices. Given its recent string of luck at those shows, we can probably expect some sort of Texas sleet.

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.

More is likely just over the horizon for I/O in early May.

Also starting today, Actions will support media playback and controls on speakers and Android devices. This new feature enables the Google Assistant to understand particular voice commands. This allows for more audio experiences like "longer meditation sessions, relaxing sounds, clips from your favorite TV shows and news briefings". Additionally, users can now use voice commands to pause or replay media.

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. Called "Custom Device Actions", OEMs will be able to add custom commands for their devices. Google uses the example of turning on a connected oven. You'll be able to subscribe to notifications from Actions. Esquire and Forbes are some of the websites that have added the new functionality. But before you get around to saying that, you'd have to also tell the assistant, "Talk to Todoist".

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