The last few years have seen cut-throat competition emerging in the AI assistant segment, with tech bigwigs such as Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, Google's Assistant all coming into the foray with their own take on virtual assistance.
However, with the kind of footprint Android has on the current consumer market, Google Assistant arguably hold an advantage over its peers.
Nonetheless, it does have some not-so-trivial chunks in its armour, and we are hopeful that Google will get these features on board sooner rather than later.
A better continued conversation experience | Last month Google introduced a continued conversation feature with Google Assistant for smart displays. This basically means that you can ask Google Assistant multiple questions by starting with a single query and diving deeper with each response.
Earlier, the device stopped listening after a single chain of action was taken. Now, you can keep talking to Google Assistant, beyond a single response.
However, the experience so far, has been a bit clunky. Google Assistant is able to follow up with a more factual chain of thought but lags when questioned on subjective things.
For example, if you are visiting a new city, you can ask Google Assistant about some basic facts, but if you follow up with a question about fun things to do there, Google Assistant assistant is lost.
On the other hand, you may be able to riff a few more responses while asking a more straightforward factual question like, "When did India get its independence?"
The way the user interacts with Google Assistant would change tremendously once Google is able to enhance this functionality.
Also, more exchanges between the user and Google Assistant will mean more number of recordings of people’s voices, which can ultimately improve the assistant’s understanding of conversations.
Suggest routines | The routines functionality lets users create custom voice commands in the Home app or carry out multiple tasks with a single command.
For instance, you can create a routine triggered by "Goodnight Google" which would enable Do Not Disturb on your phone, turn off the lights and launch actions that play sleep-inducing music.
The idea behind routines is to not just give people the ability to do multiple tasks at once but to also make it a part of one's daily habits.
Samsung introduced Bixby Routines last month, which tracks users interaction with smartphones and proactively makes suggestions about things to do.
Hence, if these suggestions were extended to Google Assistant Routines, it would help make people aware of what’s possible, even if they chose not to add the suggested routine.
Use home speakers to send text messages | Google Assistant offers a seamless user experience while sending text messages on an Android phone. It is now also capable of sending and reading messages from Google Maps. Nonetheless, the same capability is not yet available to home speakers.
However, there is a way you can send messages with Home speakers today. The Broadcast feature on Google Assistant lets you send text messages to people in your household, which is not nearly the same as the ability to send text messages via home speakers.
We hope that Google brings this functionality to home speakers in the near future so you can stay connected to a wider circle of people that matter to you.
Get a productivity mode | A productivity mode could be a game changer for Google Assistant.
Currently, in resting mode, Google Assistant's smart displays act as a digital photo frame. If Google could implement functionalities such as calendar, routine on the default page, it would change the way people interact with Google Assistant.
Little things like proactive reminders of when you have your next meeting or at what time the store you plan to visit closes can help you fast track certain tasks.
Maybe launch a Friday Night Mode, while they are at it?
Give a daily recap | Like most virtual assistants, Google too is focused on providing an outlook of what lies ahead. It would be an interesting addition if Google Assistant could provide a summary of the recent events or daily recaps.
With Google Fit, it already provides historical data of one's footsteps, heart rate, and sleep cycles. Even Google Maps stores locations which you visit.
Adding the ability to revisit the day to Google Assistant's arsenal would be beneficial for users as a Harvard Study found that people who set aside 15 minutes to recap what they’ve done in a business day found improvements in their workplace performance.