Google Assistant is getting Action subscriptions, better media playback, and more

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Google will allow developers of Actions to plug into digital purchases including paid app purchases, in-app purchases, and in-app subscriptions.

What it implies is that you wouldn't have to say "Talk to Google Home" before issuing a complex custom command and just talk to the device directly.

To make Assistant more useful and human-machine communication easier, Google has announced that it will now allow other companies to create custom commands when its Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered virtual assistant is built into their products.

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Assistant has long supported subscribing to certain tidbits of information, in fact, it was one of the original demo features in the Allo version of Assistant.

Actions that are connected to Android apps also have new Assistant features on the way.

Improved media playback: A user will now be able to access and control additional playback content like a clip from a TV show etc. New Actions on Google for developers mean new Assistant features for everyone.

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Google goes a step further, demonstrating Assistant's new abilities with a custom-built robotic arm that follows Google Assistant's instructions to sort socks, and even a custom beer ordering system built into a sofa. Voice commands can be used to pause or replay media, and a media player will appear on your phone.

On smart speakers, users will be able to control audio playback verbally, while Android devices gain standard media controls in the notification drawer and lock screen. The latest update adds more functionality to this feature. For example, you can be notified of a stock price change or news alert as it happens. "Hey Google" and "OK Google" can be a real mouthful, whether you're me waking up and struggling to get the words out first thing in the morning, or an Italian grandma who can't quite get it right.

Google is also adding in updated payment options for developers to tie into, with Assistant able to recognise that you have a paid for subscription in say Google Play and tie that to a command given in Assistant. There aren't many examples of hardware with built-in Assistant yet, but developers will be able to include custom commands in them going forward. Enter your email to be subscribed to our newsletter.

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