Google Assistant to now interact with third-party Android apps

Google Assistant - Appy Pie

Google has said that its voice assistant can now open and search through some of the most popular apps available for Android phones. Google Assistant has just got custom shortcuts to directly interact with third-party Android apps.

The feature will soon be active on all Google Assistant-enabled Android phones, permitting users to launch the app with their voice and search inside the app or perform specific tasks like playing music, ordering food, or posting on social media.

That means users can now perform more specific things with Google Assistant besides just opening an app. Users can ask Google Assistant to open Walmart and search for a kitchen utensil to buy, to send a message on Snapchat, or to order food from an app. Users can set up personalized queries on this page and they can even say – ‘Hey Google, my shortcuts’ and they will be provided with a list of commands to be used.

At the time of launch, Google says that voice commands of this type will work with more than 30 popular apps on Google Play globally, with many more apps joining the bandwagon soon. Some of the apps supporting it include Spotify, Snapchat, Twitter, Walmart, Dunkin’ Donuts, Instagram, Discord, Etsy, MyFitnessPal, Mint, Nike Adapt, Nike Run Club, eBay, Kroger, Reddit, Postmates, and Wayfair.

Google says it has grown its catalog to include more than 60 inferences across 10 verticals, including finance, ridesharing, food ordering, fitness and now, social, games, travel and local, productivity, shopping, and communications are included.

Google says it is building touchpoints in Android that help users learn how to use certain voice commands and also helps them understand when and how they can use the new app actions.

Apple allows a similar feature for using Siri with iOS apps, including the ability to open apps, perform tasks, and record custom phrases.

These are commands that developers can build into apps and that you can verbally use to open and launch specific actions in an app. For instance, iPhone users can ask an app like TripIt to show them upcoming travel details.

However, there’s a difference in how Google and Apple implement the interaction function. On Google as users install an app, they can just say something like – check the news on Twitter, and Google will open Twitter and show them the latest news. But with Siri, a user will have to set up the commands first.

The new capability will make Assistant a powerful digital helper and also make hands-free navigation for users easier. This will be a handy capability when a user is busy with some other work or just does not want to touch the phone. Last but not the least it could help those who are visually impaired or are old and suffering from arthritis, by offering them an alternative way to interact with their apps.

The Google Assistant upgrade is just one of several Android improvements by the company. The company also said that it is expanding its Verified Calls anti-spam feature to more devices, adding screen-sharing to Google Duo, and updating the Google Play Movies & TV app to become Google TV app.

Google is already introducing new tools for hearing loss with Sound Notifications and others for communicating using Action blocks. These news tools are aimed at users with Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, aphasia, autism, and other communication-related disabilities.