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Notifications, "better media playback", and other brand-name actions will be added within the next few days. Earlier, developers were able to create custom commands to an extent using Actions, which essentially are apps that users control with their voice when talking to Google Assistant.

Starting today, thanks to a new feature for Actions called Custom Device Actions, device makers can extend the Assistant and add "native" functionality specific to their device. It's a wonder that this, like many other features being added to Assistant, wasn't baked in from the get-go.

Assistant Actions now support something Google is calling "Custom Device Actions".

Google Assistant just made a huge play for the Amazon Alexa device market
Actions on Google get better media playback, more subscriptions, and custom commands

Google has opened up a "Fun House" in Austin, Texas for South by Southwest where they're presumably showing off all these cool new features, so if you're in the area head over and check them out.

The media response API introduced today allows developers to incorporate things like news briefs, clips from TV shows, and interactive stories, according to a blog post by Google Assistant product managers Brad Abrams and Chris Ramsdale. Additionally, users can now use voice commands to pause or replay media. These basically allow Assistant devices to understand more specific voice commands. They will be able to turn off the display and still continue listening to the audio. TV shows like The Daily Show will have segments available for playback and general show information. Google uses the instance of turning on a connected oven. 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". For example, you can tell the Assistant to "set the oven to convection and preheat to 350 degrees." all in one command.

Amazon's Alexa may have more "skills" and connect with more services, but when it comes to artificial intelligence smarts, Google Assistant has the competition beat (sorry Siri, it isn't even close).


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