Wednesday, 19 October 2016 07:26

Google Assistant is the best AI we’ve seen. Here’s how to use it

Google's Pixel and Pixel XL have finally landed and both come with the fantastic Google Assistant.

The AI software is like Siri, but much smarter. It uses a so-called smart reply feature to offer what Google calls "appropriate, contextually aware smart suggestions for quick replies" and it learns how you prefer to reply, in order to tailor the responses to make them more personal.



This includes adding more options in the predictive text replies, or making more of spoken replies. 

How to get started with Google Assistant?

When you first set up your Pixel phone, you will be prompted to enable Google Assistant and it will guide you through registering your voice for the "OK Google" command. If you don't want to set this up at the start, the first time you try to activate Google Assistant you will be guided through the same setup process.

Alternatively, once it has been set up, you can retrain the device to learn your voice by going to the Google app, Settings, Voice and "OK Google" detection.

To access Google Assistant on the Pixel and Pixel XL, long Press on Home Button, so that a row of coloured dots appear, or say "OK Google."

You can switch between manually making selections and typing, or verbally using the Assistant.

When you open the Assistant, it will ask: "What can I help you with?" and it will show you a selection of options. Google Assistant uses a chat screen to encourage you to have a conversation with it. Example questions given by Google include: “How did the Olympics Start?” and ”what is your superpower?”

A number of answers, and follow-up questions, will appear in small bubbles below the initial answer. You can select an automated option – which will gradually become smarter and recognise how you prefer to respond – or you can say "OK Google" to enable voice controls.

You can switch between the two methods as much as you like.

Personalised Google Assistant replies

The Assistant is tailored to you, so it connects with your apps and tracks your location to help you get personalised advice.


For example, you can say: “Tell me about my day,” “show my photos of London”, “what is my next flight” or “when is my next appointment?” The answer to the flight question only works if you have an upcoming reservation in your Gmail account, though.

It should also be noted that Google requires a high level of access to your apps and accounts in order to serve these personalised responses. This has drawn criticism from privacy groups and access can be managed or revoked in Settings.

Elsewhere, by knowing your location, Google can give you localised answers to questions. Examples given include: “What’s the weather tonight?” and “show me sushi restaurants in Soho.”

Once a sushi restaurant has been found, you can ask Google Assistant follow-up questions such as: “Is Yoobi still open?” Followed by: “How long will it take to walk there from here?”

From there, Google Assistant can recognise context and will know that by “there,” you meant “Yoobi”,

Continuing with Google's example, you can say: “Text Victoria, ‘Have you eaten dinner yet?’” Once at the restaurant, you can also ask Google Assistant to translate the menu or ask specific questions about the dishes.

A pocket PA

Beyond restaurant recommendations and event or day planning, Google Assistant can act like a digital PA. This is where Google Assistant is more like Siri and Cortana. You can ask it to remind you to pick up milk, set an alarm, send a text or open an app.

Playing games with Google Assistant

Google Assistant it not just for serious, everyday tasks. It comes with built-in games and helps you search the web.

When used in Allo, Google Assistant lets you play an emoji quiz. On the Pixel devices, you can say “let’s play trivia” to open a multiplayer trivia game.

Google also said there are numerous Easter Eggs, similar to those found on the search engine, hidden within the Assistant. For example, try asking the Assistant what noise animals make.

Other examples use an integration with Google-owned YouTube to show videos.

During the launch event, Google demonstrated an integration with Open Table but this is a US-only feature at the moment.

Source : wired


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