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Google Assistant gets to know you better with personalization updates at Google I/O

A new "Personal references" feature allows your phone and smart speaker to remember extra contact details and make personalized recommendations.

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Get personalized recommendations for what to cook. 

Chris Monroe/CNET

Let Google Assistant keep track of your mom's birthday, so you don't forget to buy her a gift. The voice-activated digital assistant built into Google's smart speakers and Android phones will get better at offering customized advice this summer. 

Google announced a handful of updates to the Assistant at the Google I/O developer conference. They're all aimed at making its personal assistant more personal.

Read: Google debuts Nest Hub Max, a 10-inch Google Assistant smart display for $230

The new features include:

  • A "You" tab in Google Assistant settings for organizing your info.
  • Within the "You" tab, you'll see an overview of your activity history and privacy settings, which you'll be able to update.
  • Customized questions based on your personal contacts. For example, you can ask for the weather by your brother's place.
  • Better recipe recommendations for food and entertainment on smart displays.

You'll be able to organize your info under a new tab in settings called "You." You'll be able to find this tab both in the Google Assistant and Google Home app. The tab shows your family and top contacts, and you can add details such as identifying that a contact is your brother or sister. Fill out info such as address and birthday, then you can ask your Assistant on any device about the weather or traffic by your sister's house.

You can even set a reminder to get a gift a week before your sister's birthday and it will find the date and set a reminder accordingly.

You can also use the "You" tab to identify addresses as important places, so you can get directions to daycare with a voice command. Some of this was already possible to an extent with Google Maps, but the "You" tab will help streamline it.

You'll also be able to see your activity history and privacy settings in the tab. You can delete your activity and change your privacy settings if you'd like.

In addition to getting to know more about your contacts, Google Assistant will try to make better recommendations based on your previous searches. If you typically search for vegetarian food, Google will use that information when you ask a Google smart display to find recipes. You'll also see customized recommendations on your smart display, suggesting podcasts and even events in your area.

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The new personalization features  -- from contact details to recommendations -- will start rolling out this summer in English. The recommendations will start on smart displays such as the Google Home Hub, but the rest will come to all devices with Google Assistant -- from the company's Pixel phones to smart speakers like Google Home. The advice will be based on voice matching, so if you've set up profiles for your family, you and your significant other should get different recommendations if you both search your smart display for recipes.

Read more: Here's everything we've learned so far at Google I/O 2019

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