Features covered:

• Continued Conversations

• Multiple Actions

• New Google Assistant voices

• Custom routines

• Scene support for Phillips Hue lights

• New Google Assistant languages

July 3 2018 – A few months back in May, Google unveiled a bunch of new features for Google Home devices at their I/O conference and we’ve finally started to see some of the Google Assistant features they announced roll out. First, let’s go over the new continued conversations feature. It’s one of the largest changes to how you can interact with a Google Home device. Here’s how it works:

User: Hey Google, what’s the weather today?

Google’s answer: Today in Raleigh it will be sunny with a high of 89 degrees and a low of 75.  Right now it’s currently 76 degrees and sunny.

User: What’s the humidity?

Google’s answer: The current humidity is 69%

User: Thanks Google

Google’s answer: You’re welcome!

You’ll notice that you don’t have to say “Hey Google” for every query, making the conversations you can have with your Google Assistant much more natural. Its now much easier to thank the Google Assistant as well, which as a southerner, I can appreciate.

*Important note* This feature (at the time of writing this post) is only enabled for the US English Google Assistant on the Google Home, Google Home Mini or Google Home Max. To enable this feature, simply go into your Google Home app, click the menu button, click more settings, preferences, continued conversation. When you turn on continued conversation, the settings will show you all of the speakers that it’ll be enabled on. I’d recommend rebooting all of your Google Home speakers after enabling continued conversation if you don’t see the new feature show up right away on your device.

Unfortunately, this feature hasn’t been working very consistently for me. Sometimes the Google Home will keep on the dots indicating that it’s still listening, other times, it won’t continue on listening after it answers my first query, which is a bit frustrating.

Multiple Actions

Google has allowed the Google Assistant to understand more complex queries. So take the example I just did for the Continued Conversations feature. Instead of asking Google about the weather and humidity with separate queries, we can just combine them.

User: Hey Google, what’s the current weather and humidity?

Google’s answer: The current weather in Raleigh is 59 degrees and sunny.  The current humidity is 48%.

Speaking of weather, I’ve noticed recently that the Google Assistant will tell you when it’s supposed to rain or snow, which is something that it never did for me before and is a welcome improvement.

We’ve had functionality similar to multiple actions from Google before, however, but multiple actions promises to be an expansion of those capabilities. Google recently started allowing the Assistant to understand up to three actions and will likely continue allowing the complexity of queries the Google Assistant can understand to increase.

New Google Assistant Voices

Another announcement that came out of I/O was an expansion of the different voices you can use for the Google Assistant. There are now quite a variety you can select from to be your assistant’s voice, and more are on the way. Later this year you’ll be able to have John Legend be the voice of your assistant, and I mean, who wouldn’t want that?

Custom Routines

Google rolled out routines a few months ago and when they did, the largest ask they had from users seemed to be, please, let us make custom routines. Well, Google heard your feedback and you can now do just that.

You can now create your own routines using one of the million different actions supported on the assistant. In the next few months google will be adding scheduled routines as well.

To create a custom routine open your Google Home app, click the menu button, more settings, scroll down and then select routines. If you’ve ever created a shortcut for the Google Assistant, these are now shown in the routines page. The ready-made routines that you may be familiar with are also still in this screen.

Routines are comprised of three different partners, a command, an action and media.  A command is what you tell the Google Assistant when you want it to complete a routine. This feature works pretty well so far out of the box, though I’ve ran into some odd quirks. All the Google homes will repeat the actions it takes, not just the one I was talking to, which is a bit annoying. As with the continuing conversation feature, hopefully Google will be able to fix this one too.

To see an example of how to setup a custom routine, click here

Phillips Hue scene support

If you’ve created a lot of scenes with your Phillips Hue smart lights, you can now ask the Google Assistant to turn on specific scenes, even in certain rooms. All you have to do is re-sync your Phillips Hue account with your Google Assistant and the scenes you have in your Phillips Hue account should then show up in your Assistant settings.

To view them go to your Google Home app, menu, home control, and then scroll down until you see your Phillips Hue lights and scenes. To ask the Google Assistant to turn on a specific scene, simply say the trigger word and then say Turn on, your scene name and then what room if you only want to turn on the scene in a specific room.

New Google Assistant languages

Ok, last update. I know a lot of you viewers out there have been asking for a larger variety of languages to be supported by Google. Google has heard this feedback and will be supporting over 30 languages with the Google Assistant by the end of this year including Danish, Dutch, Hindi, Indonesian, Norwegian, Swedish, and Thai. Also, sometime later this year, Google will automatically detect the language you’re speaking and switch to that language. This feature will be supported by English, French and German at launch, with more languages supporting it over time.

The currently sported languages for the Google Home speakers are: English,French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.

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