Digital assistants seem successful in finding their ways to more users. Amazon's Alexa already has thousands of third-party skills that serve its users well. On top of that, it is getting an integration with Microsoft Cortana, which will only double the AI's power capacity. As for Google, the approach is towards a self-sustaining progress. Based on the unveiling that took place at a Google Developer Days keynote, the company is determined to provide its users impressive and high-end features. Given all its upgrades, the Google Assistant looks like the perfect recipient of this research and development.

Upgrading translation

Google introduced a range of new features for its Assistant and it packs a lot of promise.

In its effort to be more useful in a wider range of circumstances, the company added a new translator mode. Although this is not an entirely new feature, the changes in implementation make it more natural and convenient to use, especially when traveling abroad. The prompt goes like, 'Ok, Google, be my [Insert Language] translator,' and the Assistant will translate the user's statement/s accordingly. Basically, if a user wants something to be translated, the Digital Assistant will automatically translate, both visually and auditory, what the user is saying. The mechanism will continue until the user tells the Assistant to stop.

Setting up preferences

Currently, storing preference on the Assistant is available and this includes a home address or even a favorite sports team. However, there is a lot more in store for this feature when the upgrades roll out.

As a way to demonstrate, the presenter tells the voice assistant that he can swim in Lake Zurich if the temperature outside is above 50 degrees. After which, he asked if he can swim in the lake next weekend. The Assistant responded with a 'no' as it predicted in the weather forecast the conflict in temperature.

Better language and question processing

In addition, improvements in Natural Language Processing have also been incorporated thanks to the merging of Google Search and machine learning. To demonstrate this at the keynote, an elaborate description of a Tom Cruise movie was provided and the Assistant was able to provide the correct movie title as well as a description.

Another big improvement is the better understanding of the context of questions. The sample question came as a request to see pictures of Thomas. No other detail or prior context was provided. The Assistant showed results of images displaying Thomas the Tank Engine. An add-on to the request is to see a team roster for FC Bayern Munich and pictures of the team's Thomas Müller came up.

The second demonstration on questions pertained to the Empire State Building, which was only mentioned once. Despite the limited mention, it was able to answer a series of follow up questions about it.

To sum it up, the Google Assistant now has better voice recognition, can answer questions faster, and maximize Google search in appropriate scenarios. While some of these features are already available, a few are still waiting to be launched. Until then, users can enjoy the latest upgrades at hand.