One of the most popular and useful smart features that come now is voice-controlled digital assistants. The big advantage of them is that you can control them with voice commands so that you do not have to pick up the cellphone or sit at the computer.
For example, they can play music, answer questions, make lists and schedules, and not least control the devices in your smart home. When it comes to controlling smart home devices, it is most common to use a voice-assisted assistant built into a smart speaker. The most common assistants today are Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Siri. Here we will get to know Google Assistant, see what it can do and how to control its smart home.
This is Google Assistant
If you have a smartphone with Google services, you may already have encountered Google Now. It’s Google’s equivalent of Apple’s Siri, that is, the phone’s voice-controlled assistant that you can call someone, play music, or answer a question just by giving a voice command. For example: “Hey Google, who won the 1972 World Cup, and with how many goals?” Google Assistant is a further development of Google Now, with the big difference being that Assistant can conduct a two-way dialogue with the user for more complex tasks and queries. Google Assistant also has AI and machine learning that keeps it learning based on your needs and getting better at solving them.
Google’s digital assistant emerged in 2016 and is constantly evolving with new capabilities and features. Not least, it can speak more languages than the other assistants.
In addition to mobile, Google Assistant is also built into Google Home smart speakers and other devices that are compatible
smart TVs, watches and displays. Several car manufacturers are also planning to integrate Google Assistant into their vehicles.
This can be done by Google Assistant
Google Assistant can search the Internet, play media, create schedules and lists, set alarms, change device settings, and control smart devices. You say “Ok Google” or “Hey Google” to enable the assistant and then the command you want it to execute. Here are some examples:
- Call and send SMS: “Ok Google, call your brother”
- Get information: “Okay Google, how’s the weather this weekend”
- Set alarm: “Okay Google, wake me a quarter to seven tomorrow”
- Translate: “Okay Google, how do you say ‘this baguette is moldy’ in French”
- Entertain: “Okay Google, show me funny cat clips on YouTube”
- Play media: “Okay Google, play my playlist” Training songs “on Spotify”
- Control smart devices: “Okay Google, lower the lighting in the living room to 50% and turn on Netflix”
Google themselves say their assistant can understand over a million commands (here you can see several examples). They also claim that the assistant will soon be able to capture information through the device’s camera and recognize objects, get support for shopping and money transactions, and recognize music by listening to it. Obviously, Google is investing heavily in developing its assistant as much as possible.
Google Assistant and your smart home
If you want to control the gadgets in your smart home, you will start from one of the smart speakers in the Home series where Google Assistant is the heart of the speaker itself. Today, there are lots of smart devices that are compatible with and can be connected to Google Home and Assistant to be controlled via voice commands, such as lighting, wall sockets, alarms and surveillance, locks and cameras. Some of the compatible products are:
- Smart lighting from Philips Hue and LIFX
- Security and monitoring systems from Logitech, Nest, D-Link, Arlo and Netgear, among others
- Remote switches and outlets from D-Link, Belkin WeMo and Trust ZigBee, among others
- iRobot robot vacuum cleaner
- Ikea Threadless
- Netatmos cameras, thermostats and other smart gadgets
An effective way to use your smart devices with Google Home and Assistant is to create routines that combine multiple functions. For example, you can create a routine for what will happen when you leave home in the morning. If you give that routine the voice command “Okay Google, now I go” then the routine can turn off all the lights, turn off the news, lock the door after you, turn on the surveillance system and give you the current bus timetable.
If you want to know more about what Google Home can do and how to use it in your smart home – read our Google Home post here.
AI learns from mistakes and develops functionality
What really sets Google’s digital assistant apart from the others on the market is that it constantly learns about the user and its needs through artificial intelligence and machine learning. The assistant learns to distinguish between voices and can thus create personal accounts (eg Spotify and calendar) and preferences depending on who in the household is talking to it.
Google Assistant is also very good at languages and conversations. It understands you even if you pronounce something wrong and it is superb at multi-step conversations. While many other assistants need full information in every command or question (“When was Frank Sinatra born? Who is Frank Sinatra’s biggest hit?
Who was Frank Sinatra married to?”), Google Assistant joins the conversation and you only have to mention Frank once, then the assistant understands who you mean. This makes Google’s assistant probably the most natural and easy-to-use voice-assisted assistant on the market today. During blind tests, it has been found that you do not notice that it is a digital bot you are talking to, but think that it is a real person. This is how good the Google Assistant is with having conversations with users.
This constantly improving function means that the assistant is continuously becoming more skilled at performing the tasks it receives. Google is also investing heavily in further developing the Assistant as more services and compatible products emerge, giving the user more opportunities to manage new smart products. Google Assistant is sure to remain one of the big players to make our lives and homes smarter and more comfortable.