Google Assistant gets new look, additional features on mobile devices

Yolanda Curtis
October 4, 2018

Bigger visuals that are easy to glance at quickly. Assistant users will be able to use Google's Sign-In for the Assistant protocols, once app developers implement it, to seamlessly sign into their Google accounts without typing passwords. With the latest makeover, Google wants Assistant to be easier to control "whether you prefer to use your hands, your voice, or a combination of the two".

Google now offers brands new tools to take advantage of mobile devices for search results. There's still great use of white space and it still looks clean and simple, but now it has a more effective layout which gives you the information you need visually.

This update also brings a new way to access your daily overview. It's not entirely clear what this feature will look like - Google Assistant doesn't work on my device, so I can't test it - but it will presumably streamline the process of typing out lengthy messages. For instance, you can use dials to adjust your lights to the required brightness, or the sliders to control the volume of your smart speaker.

Google Assistant is free to download from the Google Play Store and iTunes. Starbucks has thumbnails of its menu, Food Network has larger images in recipes, and FitStar shows workouts with GIFs.

The overview provides things based on how the user has recently used Google Assistant, as well as the current time of the day. According to Google, almost half of all interactions with Assistant - both within the app and with smart home products like Google Home smart speakers - involve both voice and touch. The timing is not coincidental; the Pixel 3 arrives next week and is expected to usher in the best of Google in both hardware and software.

Digital purchases in Actions could include things like premium subscriptions. A Google Pay account is required to finalize the purchase, though.

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