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article imageGoogle unveils new Assistant features, launches AI on the iPhone

By James Walker     May 18, 2017 in Technology
Google has announced a bevy of new features coming to its Google Assistant AI. Besides new voice commands and more third-party integrations, the company is launching Assistant on Apple's iOS, stepping up the fight against Siri.
Google launched Assistant late last year. Although it's still limited to a handful of devices, it has been steadily growing and expanding in capabilities. During its I/O developers conference yesterday, Google announced what's next for Assistant, unveiling an iOS version that has turned heads in the tech world.
Google Assistant will soon be available on all iPhones running iOS 9 and newer, greatly expanding its potential audience. Google said Assistant is already installed on more than 100 million devices. Launching on the iPhone could rapidly increase this figure while Google still trickles the app onto additional Android phones.
While iOS users might be reluctant to install Assistant when Siri's already available, Google's AI has several advantages. Although Apple has recently started releasing new features, Siri is generally considered to be behind current trends. Assistant supports more complex voice commands, can retain context-driven conversations for longer and integrates with third-party devices and services.
The latter characteristic in particular is considered particularly important as tech companies look towards a future of smart homes. Siri's basic control features are limited to Apple HomeKit-compatible products. In comparison, Assistant works with a much broader selection of hardware.
Google Assistant on Android phones
Google Assistant on Android phones
This is an area Apple is likely to considerably expand during its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) next month as it's widely expected to launch its own smart speaker. Until then, Assistant has the upper hand on the company's own platform though.
To solidify its lead, Google is rolling out several new Assistant features that fill in some of the holes in its functionality. You can now schedule calendar appointments and check reminders, start calls on Google Home and control media playback from a larger selection of music and video streaming apps. For the first time, you can type queries to Assistant too, letting you get a response even if you need to talk to the AI in a quiet environment.
Chatting with the AI is now more conversational as Google has given Assistant the ability to initiate discussions itself. In the coming months, the Assistant app will start displaying "proactive notifications" to Google Home users. It will anticipate when you might need its help and put suggestions in your notification tray before you have to ask.
Finally, Assistant's iOS expansion is being accompanied by launches in more international regions. By the end of the year, it will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany and Japan in new languages that include Brazilian Portuguese, French, German, Japanese, Italian, Korean and Spanish. It may have taken a few months to get going but it looks like Google's now picking up development at a faster pace.
More about Google, google assistant, Artificial intelligence, Ai, digital assistant
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