Just like final 12 months, we’ve put collectively an end-of-year recap of all the main features that Google Assistant and Google Home launched in 2021.
Google Assistant on cellular
Visually, the new Google Assistant (NGA), which stays restricted to the Pixel 4 and newer units, misplaced its authentic translucent design for a brief panel that simply reads “Hi, how can I help?” with a button to change to keyboard enter. The Snapshot shortcut was frustratingly eliminated, with the solely replace to that feed this 12 months being the potential to favourite and pin playing cards/reminders.
Google did check a shorter panel on non-NGA units that noticed Lens function a “What’s on my screen?” alternative, however that design didn’t launch. The different change was Material You Dynamic Color theming for the Assistant sheet on Android 12.
Under-the-hood, simply earlier than I/O 2021 Google touted how Assistant’s pure language understanding fashions had been “fully rebuilt” utilizing BERT to raised perceive context, “what you’re trying to do with a command,” and enhance accuracy, particularly for alarm/timer duties.
Google will perceive directions like “set a timer for 5, no wait, 9 minutes.” In the previous, Assistant would create a 5-minute timer, however now it units the desired 9-minute countdown. Similarly, “make the alarm one hour later” edits a present alarm reasonably than creating a completely new one. Lastly, customers can ask for and management timers with no need to recollect the actual title they gave it, due to approximate title matching.
BERT additionally improved dialog high quality by rising consciousness of your earlier question and what’s on-screen, whereas Assistant grew to become capable of save customized contact pronunciations.
Similarly, Google used federated studying on Android to enhance “Hey Google” accuracy, with customers capable of flip the function on from Assistant settings > Help enhance Assistant. Certain hotword activations began being accompanied by telephone notifications asking whether or not the proper system picked up.
Assistant settings added standalone pages for Communication, Your apps, Lock display, Accessibility, and Photos, and preferences for Voice Match and Personal outcomes had been cut up by system sort.
In phrases of new features in 2021, the Pixel 6 noticed the launch of Google Assistant voice typing after “enhanced voice typing” testing earlier in the 12 months on all NGA telephones. The new Google telephones additionally gained “Quick phrases” that allow you to skip the hotword to reply calls and cease alarms, whereas At a Glance was introduced into nearer alignment with Google Assistant. Lastly, Assistant on Pixel telephones working Android 12 shifted to launch by long-pressing the energy button.
All units noticed lockscreen instructions achieve glanceable playing cards, and Assistant improved its compatibility with Workspace accounts on cellular and later Smart Displays/audio system. Family features like Broadcasts and Bells began showing on telephones, whereas Duplex – Google’s title for expertise that quickens interactions – picked up extra capabilities. This included assist for on-line meals orders, “Fast checkout” at shops, and altering stolen passwords in Chrome for Android, in addition to Smart Display assist.
Rounding out the listing, Google used Assistant to supply Home Mini and Nest Hub reductions however stopped providing Cameo Voices. Looking forward, Android widgets will quickly have the ability to seem in Assistant and probably Android Auto.
Speaking of vehicles, certainly one of the largest Assistant expansions was on the street with the full launch of Driving Mode. In 2020, it started showing in Google Maps, however it’s now a part of the Google app with a homescreen that was first promised at I/O 2019. The adjustments included Bluetooth auto-launch and a homescreen shortcut as the outdated “Android Auto for Phone Screens” expertise is disappearing on Android 12. “Hey Google, pay for gas” is slowly rolling out, and there at the moment are light-weight HTML5 video games on Android Auto.
Google Assistant at dwelling
Outside of Assistant’s cellular situations, Google launched Daylong Routines, programmable begin delays, the potential to your macros to provoke after an alarm is dismissed, and Home & Away Routines triggers for once you arrive/go away a specified location.
Assistant in the house is in fact intently tied to Smart Displays. The largest improvement was the launch of Fuchsia to exchange Cast OS on the first-generation Home/Nest Hub. There had been solely minor bugs, and it was an enormous technical accomplishment to exchange an working system at scale.
Another addition that made waves for bringing oodles of pleasure was the wider availability of the “Weather Frog” clock face with extra developments probably en route. However, “experimental” Facebook and Flickr picture frames disappeared at the begin of this 12 months. Speaking of climate, the Nest Hub began displaying Air Quality (AQI) data.
There was additionally a new alarm expertise that added a Sunrise choice, extra sounds, and controls, in addition to “app” launcher, richer browser with keyboard, and new Casting tone.
Smaller Home features added in 2021 included a devoted Games tab, a Google Photos “Memories” card, and direct/bulk picture sharing. Google additionally improved Spanish interface assist and expanded Guest Mode availability.
For 2022, Google introduced that its Home/Nest/Wifi units would add assist for the Matter good dwelling normal to enhance interoperability. This contains Android by way of Play providers for higher management and a Fast Pair-like UI for set-up.
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