All of Google’s major consumer platforms, like Android and ChromeOS, allow third-party developers. In the case of Assistant, Google is making a shift to focus on Android and will virtually no longer allow third-party voice experiences – including apps and games with visual interactions – on smart displays or speakers.
Google today announced that “conversational actions” will be deprecated in June 2023. Enabled by “Hey Google, talk to [x service],” it was announced in 2016 as the first way for third-party developers to integrate the Assistant. Before today, Google announcement it’s like that :
Build rich and natural conversations
Create personalized voice and visual experiences for smart devices like phones, speakers, and displays.
Priority: Assistant + Android
Google is getting rid of Conversational Actions to focus on “App actions with Android” of 2019 because “users want to interact with their favorite apps using voice, and developers want to build on their existing investments in Android.”
The new approach is simply for developers to add voice control capabilities to their existing Android apps instead of creating an entirely independent experience from scratch, independent of the device. Overall, this made development more difficult and happened in the early days of voice assistants when many companies were experimenting with the new method of interaction.
This Android lens isn’t limited to phones and tablets, as these Assistant experiences also work on watches (Wear OS), TVs (Google/Android TV), and cars (Android Auto/Automotive). Recent improvements include the Assistant “directing users to apps even when queries don’t mention an app name” and opening a Play Store listing if the needed app isn’t installed. . Another example is to make app actions (shortcuts) appear in the Pixel Launcher search.
Voice assistant apps not so much
However, what’s left of this new push are smart assistants and speakers, where you were most likely to use conversation actions, also known as “Google Actions”. That said, the usage of pure voice apps on these two form factors wasn’t that high.
The disappearance that will have a little more impact is that of Smart Display Games. To accommodate the Nest Hub screen, Conversation Actions introduces “Interactive canvas” so developers can build apps with both touch and voice input. This loss, including quizzes and picture books, will mostly be felt by those who have exploited smart displays as family devices, but Google told us it’s still very much focused on cases of use for children.
As part of today’s announcement, Google said it “will continue to invest in all the popular assistant experiences people love, like timers, media, home automation, communications, etc.”. There are no changes to third-party smart home integrations or media (music, video, etc.).
Existing developers of conversational actions are directed to this page for more details because Google ended on the following note:
Looking ahead, we envision a platform that is intuitive, natural, and voice-enabled, and a platform that enables developers to leverage the entire Android device ecosystem so they can easily reach more people. users. We’re always looking to improve the Assistant experience and believe App Actions is the best way to do that. We appreciate all you’ve done to build the Google Assistant ecosystem over the past five years, and we’re here to help you navigate the changes as we continue to improve it. We are excited about what lies ahead and are grateful to be building it together.
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