Google Assistant Now Understands Custom Commands for Third-Party Products

Google Assistant adds daily updates and push notifications for voice apps

Ever since its inception a year ago, Google has been adding a ton of new features to the Google Assistant.

A couple of proofs of concept are coming to SXSW for this new Custom Device Actions program by Google for Google Assistant.

9to5Google did some digging and found that Google is laying the groundwork for custom hotwords. The newest additions come in the form of Custom Device Actions, and they're about to add one whole heck of a lot of variety to their connected device ecosystem.

Until recently, device makers big and small had to use the same Google Assistant regardless of whether they were making the Assistant work with phones, fridges or lights.

For example, users can now activate a washer's specific color cycle with an Assistant command.

Although the additional functionality could be added via Actions but that requires an extra step for owners every time they want to use it. It allows third-party developers to create conversation-based actions on Assistant. The new support allows Actions to send alerts like "newly added workout, a change in a stock price, or a news alert, right when it happens".

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The Media Playback controls will enable content creators to allow access to a range of new media beyond the podcasts and music controls we've seen previously with support for "TV shows, interactive stories, meditation, relaxing sounds, and news briefings" being added.

On smart speakers, users will be able to control audio playback verbally, while Android devices gain standard media controls in the notification drawer and lock screen.

Assistant has long supported subscribing to certain tidbits of information, in fact, it was one of the original demo features in the Allo version of Assistant. On your phone, audio from Actions will produce a media notification you can use to manage playback as well. Esquire and Forbes are a few websites taking advantage of this new ability.

An example the company cites is the distinction between a general instruction that goes "Turn on the oven" and the more specific "Set the oven to convection and preheat to 350 degrees".

Most of the new features are available to Actions developers starting today. But before you get around to saying that, you'd have to also tell the assistant, "Talk to Todoist".