Google AI Assistant Presents New Twist
Developers are all eager to introduce their versions of artificial intelligence (AI) assistants. First to come out, of course, was Apple’s Siri which was first available on the iPhone. Now, Siri has also been included in the latest version of OS X. In the meantime, there have been other AI from other big names. These include Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google’s Now. Since its introduction Google has dropped any names for their AI assistant, instead just calling it Google since you can summon it with the command of “Ok, Google.”
AI are supposed to be able to answer intelligently. It does this via several methods. Principally, it has an algorithm which tries to understand what you are saying, and in what context. In the same manner that we understand what a word means not only by its meaning but also in the context that a word is used. One other thing that an AI is supposed to do is to learn. In the case of Microsoft, their AI learning component is based on the cloud. Google, on the other hand, has embedded the learning component to the device or tied up with the person who is logged in.
During the Google Conference held last May 2016, the company announced its improvement on Google Now, which now includes “Ok Google” voice controls. The AI can be found with Google Pixel Smartphones, Google Home, and the Google Allo app and are currently exclusive to Google Pixel Smartphones but the development suggests that it will be available for other devices in the future.
Here is a comparison of the Google Assistant in these three platforms:
Google Pixel Smartphone
The Assistant is the centerpiece of this game-changing highly competitive device where you can get access to the interface with a simple long-press of the home button. It is designed to be conversational, but listening and replying are not the only feature it has. Once the conversation starts, the discussion is quickly transcribed for you on the screen. If you ask for a restaurant in your area, it will provide the suggestions with cards for selection and possibly the ability to book a table with the OpenTable app. The Assistant has taken control of Navigation, program schedules on Netflix, and even your flight agenda. It is expected to be bigger than its competition along with more options with games and hidden functions in the “I’m Feeling Lucky” command.
As the Google Assistant has taken over the smartphone, expect it as well to take over your home with Google Home and its connected speaker turning it into a smart home control center and an AI assistant for the whole family. It is similar to Alexa’s Echo from Amazon, where you can ask the Google Assistant virtually anything and should let you effortlessly manage your family’s daily activities. Google Assistant aims to do all of the things you can do with your smartphone using your voice through the integration into your home environment. IFTTT, Nest, Hue, SmartThings are the different support forms that will enable you to voice your commands, like watch Netflix on your television with Chromecast support.
Google also came up with a smarter way to chat and introduced it as the Google Allo. The Allo is a messenger that has rolled out for Android and iOS and is designed to provide an abundance of features with tons of fun when chatting with friends. The Google Assistant has made the Allo app more interactive with emojis, stickers, and even lets you play games. For a more private conversation, Google also made the Incognito Mode available and a self-destruct timer that will destroy your chat at your specified time. The Allo does any other messaging app feature as seen on the market like sending an SMS, turn off notifications and block contacts.
Google has added a few more of the AI features like searching within the messenger by simply typing “@google” along with your request. This can be done even when chatting with a friend where you use “@google coffeeshops nearby.” Just like the AI on the Pixel Smartphone, you will be provided with cards on your screen for the results. The incorporation of the “@google” command in your chat screen is not limited to searching for restaurants and other locations; you can also use this for videos and photos, and even command Allo with your voice and the bot will even ask for feedback.
Expanding the AI
However, for the AI to be truly useful, it has to learn what you want. You have to talk to it and let the AI learn on its own. This is the real power of the AI. It may still require learning and help from cloud-based servers, however, the learning process is the core of the system.
With constant talk, it learns or fits your personality. It cannot just pull out information about you from the web; it should also find patterns of behavior. In much like Google search tries to provide the best search results which are contextually correct within your environment, the Google AI also has the aim of providing you a custom fit. The AI Assistant is your personal assistant. Its answers will depend on where you are as well as a history of your choices.
Harry Potter Centric AI
In the meantime, Google has released a Harry Potter-themed addition to the AI assistant. You can now use some commands from the Harry Potter franchise serving as an expansion for voice commands. These include controls like “Luminous” or “Nox” to turn on your device’s flashlight, and “Silencio” to turn on the Silent Mode for the ringer and notifications.
The Harry Potter expansion shows what the AI can do, given the proper mindset and how you teach it. Users are advised to keep on talking to the AI in order for it to learn the user’s preferences.