Google unveiled Wednesday a significant overhaul to its voice search functionality that makes it smarter and more intuitive. The revamped software also has a new name: "Google Assistant." Google Assistant understands language more naturally than standard Google voice search. For example, if a user asks who directed the film The Revenant, that person can follow up with a query like "Show me his awards." The user doesn't have to say the director's name to get the correct answer.
It's quite easy to do a Google search on Android. The deep tie-in is an important feature, and one of the reasons Android is the superior choice for those who rely so much on Google services. Yet, sometimes picking out just how to do a Google search is like choosing from among 12 shades of blue shirts you have hanging in the closet. We get that Google wants to be helpful and all, but sometimes it feels like that overeager know-it-all you remember from fourth grade. Each of these different search methods have their own particular strenth.
"Alexa, how long will it take me to get to Chicago from here?" This question is not profoundly complex. In many ways, it's more like a search query, and it shouldn't have anything to do with A.I. Yet there are several important data points, and the Alexa assistant that runs on my Amazon Echo speaker doesn't know what to do. When I ask this question, the bot tells me to set up my traffic route for a daily commute. On the new Google Allo messaging app using the Google Assistant bot, things are a little different.
It is safe to say that artificial intelligence is single handedly the most important technology to be introduced into search marketing in the last few years. From Google's RankBrain algorithm which feeds searches through machine learning technology, to Alexa, Siri, and Cortana for voice search, AI is changing the way we use and interact with search engines. This week Google made a big announcement at their 2016 I/O event, where CEO Sundar Pichai exhibited the company's new assistive search tool dubbed Google assistant. Google's choice to not capitalize "assistant" in the name is an interesting one, as it signifies that this is not a stand alone tool, but instead a technology that could be built into other Google platforms. Google assistant is not a tool or a service; it is a technology that could shape how searches are performed.
The next time you ask Google Assistant a question, you'll be more likely to get something beyond a flurry of web links. Google is rolling out an update to Assistant on Android that provides more detailed (not to mention more vivid) info cards when you ask certain questions. Search for local events and you'll get cards that include associated visuals and bookmark buttons. Look for cute cats, meanwhile, and you'll see pictures for adorable breeds on top of the actual rankings. Other upgraded searches include stocks (you'll see a stock performance graph), financial calculators, color pickers and even a bubble level.