Today Google I/O got underway, and Google kicked things off with a bunch of announcements for Google Assistant.
Google Assistant is getting six new voices that will begin rolling out today, including a mix of female and male voices. In a surprise move, Google said that it’s also getting John Legend to be a Google Assistant voice, but his voice won’t be rolling out until later this year.
Another new feature coming to Google Assistant is Continued Conversation. With this feature, you won’t need to keep saying “Hey Google” when you have multiple queries in a row. Just say it once for your first question, then keep talking to the Assistant like you normally would and it’ll understand you.
Google Assistant is gaining a new feature focused on kids, too. Called Pretty Please, this feature will encourage kids to use the word “please” when children make a request of the Assistant. If they do, Google Assistant will say thank them for being polite and go ahead with the request.
Google Assistant will soon be able to handle food orders for you, too. With this feature, you can do things like ask the Assistant to order your usual drink from Starbucks and, after asking if you’d like anything else and confirming which store you want to pick up from, it’ll place your order. Some of the restaurants that will support this feature include Starbucks, Domino’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Panera.
Also of note is that Google Assistant is getting a bit more visual. The Assistant will do things like include images of a person you ask about or show you visual controls when you use a smart home device. This more visual Google Assistant is coming to Android this summer and iOS later this year.
Finally, Google announced perhaps the biggest new Assistant feature of the day: the ability to make phone calls on your behalf. Google says that Assistant will be able to calls to businesses to make appointments and reservations for you.
In the on-stage demo, the user asked for a haircut appointment on a certain date between 10:00 am and 12:00 pm. The Google Assistant then called a salon and, using a voice that sounded pretty lifelike, responded to questions from the worker and made an appointment at 10:00 am. Once complete, the Assistant gave a notification to confirm that the appointment was made.