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Smart Home

7 ways Google Assistant just got better

Here are all of the ways Google's voice assistant is getting smarter.

James Martin

Google's voice AI, Google Assistant, has a lot to say at this year's I/O developer conference. Here are all of the ways it just got smarter:

Google Assistant will soon make phone calls for you

No, I'm not talking about using your Google Home, Google Home Mini or Google Home Max speakers as speaker phones. Google Assistant, whether from a Google Home smart speaker or an Android phone, will soon be able to call a regular phone number and  have a "conversation" with whoever's on the other line

I can't wait to see how well this works (or doesn't work). 

Google Assistant can teach your kid manners

Enable the new "pretty please" feature and your Google Home speaker will listen for words like "please" and "thank you." If Google Assistant doesn't hear them, it's supposed to ask for "the magic word." 

Google Assistant can finally handle custom routine commands 

Google Routines, which is similar to Apple HomeKit Scenes, now lets you launch simultaneous actions, like playing music, adjusting your Google-Assistant-compatible LEDs, and updating you on the traffic, all with a single phrase you create.

Google made some updates to its Routines feature back in March, but this should give you free rein to design your own Routines, starting Tuesday.

Google Assistant gets more conversational

Google Assistant will now keep listening for up to 8 seconds after you give it a command, so you don't have to keep repeating "Hey, Google," or "OK, Google" if you happen to have a string of questions for your smart speaker. This is all part of Google's continued effort to make its voice assistant more conversational -- not having to continuously repeat those wake words will likely help a lot. 

Google Assistant will order food from your Android phone

You'll soon be able to order food for takeout or delivery using Google Assistant on Android phones. The voice AI is supposed to remember what you ordered, too, in case you have a favorite menu item. 

Google Assistant adds new voices

Google Assistant now has a total of 8 voices to pick from, including musician John Legend's. Better yet, you and your family can select different voices, even on shared devices. This update applies to Google Home speakers, as well as Android phones. 

Google Assistant improves Home app

Google's Home app is getting a much-needed upgrade to add Home View, a dashboard for smart-home devices. View your connected products and control them from an easy-to-use home screen. You can also tap the mic inside the app to ask Google Assistant to dim the lights or lock the door. 

Now playing: Watch this: Robot or human? Google Assistant will leave you guessing
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Google I/O: All our coverage of this year's developer conference.

Google Assistant could become the most lifelike AI yet: Experimental technology called Duplex, rolling out soon in a limited release, makes you think you're talking to a real person.