Google has given smart home manufacturers a big new feature with support for custom commands on Google Assistant. This means that rather than choosing from a list of pre-defined voice commands, manufacturers of products that integrate with the voice assistant can program their own to be more relevant for their products.
Although most people use smart speakers for playing music and setting timers, smart home device manufacturers are hoping that these voice assistants will make it more convenient for people to control their devices.
However, until now they’ve been limited by needing to make their devices work with Google’s pre-defined voice commands such as ‘on’, ‘off’, and temperature settings, which can be very limiting.
In future, The Verge reports that manufacturers will be able to set custom commands such as having the ability to set an oven to ‘convection’ mode, which should make such commands much more convenient for most products.
The usefulness of these commands will likely vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so we’ve got our fingers crossed that a set of best practices emerge to avoid big disparities in functionality.
Big steps forward
Google isn’t the only company making big strides forward with its voice assistant technology. Last week Amazon added the ability for Alexa to understand follow-up requests, allowing users to issue a series of commands without having to repeatedly say the word ‘Alexa’.
The developments are continued evidence of an arms race taking place between the two companies, as each continues to work out how the new world of voice assistants should work.
Ultimately consumers are getting to be the ones who benefit, as all of these new features are being delivered for free via software updates.
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