Google recently demoed their Assistant to make a phone call to help book a haircut appointment. When the conversation was being heard, the discussion sounded just like two people talking together, while in fact online there wasn’t a live person, but an ‘AI powered Assistant’ that sounded pretty much like talking to a real person. Besides the “hmm” and “m-hmmm” that a live person would do when in a conversation, it ended up booking an appointment for the Customer who had called in.
Like some, of its ‘friends’ Siri, Cortana, Alexa, Google Assistant can also be used to help support a particular business process. The only upgrade that it had was using its Duplex Technology capability and perform a task with the same sounding effort as a human being. Here the test was to check if Google Assistant could be used to perform different tasks, something like book an appointment at a salon or restaurant however for a business there are a lot of things that will be considered, this also includes the Security Policies for using Robots to do a Human’s job.
Google Assistant is a virtual companion and is available on Android phones and tablets running Android 5.0 or higher, on iOS devices via a downloadable app, and on certain Chromebooks and home speaker products. With Android and other Google devices, Assistant can typically be summoned via a simple voice command or by pressing and holding the Home key on your device.
Below are some of the basic functions that can be performed simply by saying “Ok Google..( and your query )”
Notes & Reminders
If you need to take down a note, one can simply open Assistant by saying “Ok Google..” and say “make a note to self”. You can even opt to have the note sent as an email to your own address via Gmail. Google Assistant can act as your secretary and compile a list of reminders, to-do tasks, or notes and then send this list as an email. It can even send the list to multiple people or post it into apps like Slack, Evernote or Trello.
As an example Assistant can set a reminder for a specific time and day just by saying “Ok Google…Remind me to call John on Monday at noon,” One can set recurring reminders by adding the word “every” into the spoken command ( e.g., “Remind me to check the inventory every Thursday at 1:00 ). In addition to Reminders, there is also a command “Remember that the meeting is at 4:00 every Thursday”
If you need to recall the information, one can just say, “Ok Google..what did I tell you about ..?” followed by the subject “the inventory” or whatever the case may be.
You can create a calendar event by telling the Assistant “add to my calendar” followed by the event’s name, date and time. You can also ask Assistant something like “When’s my next appointment?” or “What’s on my calendar for next Monday?” Apple users can also link Assistant to their iPhone’s calendar by setting up Google’s IFTTT applet for integrating Apple Calendar with Google Home and then using the command “Add to my iOS calendar” followed by the event’s title, date, and time.
Communication & Messaging
If you need to make a phone call, Google Assistant can act as your operator. One can ask it to call any publicly listed business or any person in their contacts by specifying “mobile” or “work” and even include “on speakerphone” in case you need them all to be on a speakerphone.
Google Assistant can understand “Ok Google..text..” followed by the contact’s name and the message. It will confirm if it got everything right and then ask if you want to send the message. Assistant makes it easy to find emails within Gmail too, simply ask it to “find my emails from” a particular contact or to “find my emails about” a specific subject, and it’ll pop up results.
The Assistant will also provide functionality to link LinkedIn to Assistant and then let you write a post speaking it aloud.
Functions & Settings For The Phone
Google Assistant can help get around your Android phone as well, for example, if you are instructing it to open any app or website or even ask it to search within an app. Something, like increasing or decreasing the volume of music playing, or completely asking the Assistant to mute the phone, can also be done hands-free.
Additional Useful Tools
One can get detailed information on traffic before they head out just by asking Assistant “what the traffic is like on the way to work” or “how long it’ll take to get to a location” and it will be able to tell you the distance and time that will be taken to reach the destination. Just like a human being, Google Assistant can occasionally get a little talkative too. If you want to get info from Assistant without having it talk out loud every time, one can either silence their phone’s media volume.
Ups & Downs
This voice-based technology is surely a game changer for not only individuals but even businesses alike. However, unlike any other technological innovation, this too has its ups & downs and adds in its own security risks. This will include chances of it being misused too, however, if there are restrictions implied towards its use for supporting businesses, it will need rigorous testing, and continuous innovation to make sure it is able to keep up with the security authentication and privacy policies to avoid any technical vulnerabilities affecting the consumer or business.