How Google Assistant Can Now Control Android apps?

Google Assistant app

Few months back Google announced  that now it possible to use the voice command “Hey Google” to not just open but also perform specific tasks within Android apps. The feature rolled out to all Google Assistant-enabled Android phones, allowing users to launch apps with their voice as well as search inside apps or perform specific tasks  like ordering food, playing games, playing music, posting to social media, hailing a ride and more.

At launch, Google said these sorts of voice commands will work with more than 30 of the top apps on Google Play in English globally, with more apps coming soon. Some of the supported apps today include Spotify, Snapchat, Twitter, Walmart, Discord, Etsy, MyFitnessPal, Mint, Nike Adapt, Nike Run Club, eBay, Kroger and Postmates, Wayfair, to name a few.

If the specific voice command you would use to perform a common task is a little clumsy, the feature will also allow you to create a custom shortcut phrase instead. That means, instead of saying “Hey Google, tighten my shoes with Nike Adapt,” you could create a command that just said, “Hey Google, lace it.”

To get started with shortcuts, Android users can say “Hey Google, show my shortcuts” to get to the correct Settings screen.

The feature is similar to Apple’s support for using Siri with iOS apps, which also includes the ability to open apps, perform tasks and record your own custom phrase.

In Google’s case, the ability to perform tasks inside an app is implemented on the developer’s side by mapping users’ intents to specific functionality inside their apps. This feature, known as App Actions, allows users to open their favorite apps with a voice command — and, with the added functionality, lets users say “Hey Google” to search within the app or open specific app pages.

According to Google it has grown its catalog to include more than 60 intents across 10 verticals, including Finance, Ridesharing, Food Ordering, Fitness and, now, Social, Games, Travel & Local, Productivity, Shopping and Communications, too.

To help users understand how and when they can use these new App Actions, Google says it’s building touchpoints in Android that will help them learn when they use certain voice commands. For instance, if a user said “Hey Google, show me Taylor Swift,” it may highlight a suggestion chip that will guide the users to opening the search result on Twitter.

Also google released two new English voices for developers to leverage when building custom experiences for Assistant on Smart Displays, alongside other developer tools and resources for those building for displays.

The Google Assistant upgrade for apps was one of several Android improvements Google highlighted today. The company also says it’s adding screen-sharing to Google Duo, expanding its Verified Calls anti-spam feature to more devices (Android 9 and up), and updating the Google Play Movies & TV app to become the new “Google TV” app.

On the accessibility front, it’s introducing new tools for hearing loss with Sound Notifications and others for communicating using Action blocks, aimed at people with cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, autism, aphasia and other speech-related disabilities.

You can use it the Siri Way

Google Assistant app - The Siri Way to use

These are commands that developers can build into apps and that you can then speak to open and launch specific actions in an app. So, on an iPhone for example, you can ask an app like TripIt to show you upcoming travel details. 

There’s a difference between how Google and Apple implement the tie-in, though. After you install an app, you can just say something like “check news on Twitter” and Google will open Twitter and show you the latest news. With Siri, you have to set up the commands first.

How to customize Google Assistant Shortcuts?

You can see the commands supported by apps on your Android phone by speaking: “Hey Google, show my shortcuts.”

Some apps let you simplify the commands. Nike Adapt lets you use your voice to automatically tighten the laces on Nike’s Adapt shoes, for example. Instead of using the default “Hey Google, tighten my shoes with Nike Adapt,” you can choose to say something more simple, like “Hey Google, lace my shoes.”

Here are some examples Google provided that work now. If you have the apps installed, these commands should just work right away:

  • Discord: “Hey Google, send a message to Rachel on Discord”
  • Etsy: “Hey Google, search for candles on Etsy”
  • MyFitnessPal: “Hey Google, log a berry smoothie on MyFitnessPal”
  • Mint: “Hey Google, check my accounts on Mint”
  • Nike Adapt: “Hey Google, tighten my shoes with Nike Adapt”
  • Nike Run Club: “Hey Google, start my run with Nike Run Club”
  • Postmates: “Hey Google, order a smoothie on Postmates”
  • Snapchat: “Hey Google, send snap with Cartoon Lens”
  • Spotify: “Hey Google, find Motivation Mix on Spotify”
  • Twitter: “Hey Google, check news on Twitter”
  • Walmart: “Hey Google, when is my Walmart order arriving?”

How to set up and manage apps for the Google Assistant?

Google Assistant app

Get things done and have some fun on your Google Nest and Google Home speakers or displays with third-party created apps for the Google Assistant, including games & trivia, social, lifestyle, education & reference, health & fitness, news, and more.

On Android First Browse available apps

  • Discover available services within the Google Home app. Don’t forget to check back often as we’re adding more Assistant apps all the time.
  • Open the Google Home app .
  • At the top right, tap your account.
  • Verify that the Google Account shown is the one linked to your speaker or display. To switch accounts, tap another account or Add another account.
  • Tap Assistant > settings > Explore .
  • Scroll through the list of apps for the Assistant. When you see one you like, tap the card. 
  • Learn about the service and a sample list of things to ask. 

How to Link and unlink an app?

  • Most apps for the Assistant don’t require linking and you can immediately start using supported voice queries.
  • However, some apps require you to link the app account to your Google Account before you can use the service with your Google Assistant.

To Link a service

  • Open the Google Home app .
  • At the top right, tap your account.
  • Verify that the Google Account shown is the one linked to your speaker or display. To switch accounts, tap another account or Add another account.
  • Tap Assistant > settings >Explore .
  • Tap the card of the service you want to link.
  • Tap Link.                                         
  • Sign in to the app.  
  • Note that the sign-in flow may be different for some apps. 

To Unlink a service

  • Open the Google Home app .
  • At the top right, tap your account.
  • Verify that the Google Account shown is the one linked to your speaker or display. To switch accounts, tap another account or Add another account.
  • Tap Assistant settings > Services >  Explore .
  • Tap the card of the app you want to unlink.
  • Tap Unlink and then Unlink to confirm you want to unlink the app. 

Interact with apps using your voice

Use these commands to start a session with an Assistant app. To learn more about an app, including additional unique commands, tap your account > Assistant settings > Services > Explore and then search for the app by name and tap on the app’s card.

To do this:Say “Ok Google” or “Hey Google,” then:
Start using an Assistant app“Let me speak or talk to <app name>”
“I want to speak or talk to <app name>”
“Can I speak or talk to <app name>”
“Speak or talk to <app name>”
“At <app name>” 
Stop using an Assistant app“Cancel”

Click here to download the Google Assistant app now

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