The Google Assistant is getting some major updates.
First up, Google today announced the next generation Google Assistant that can run locally on your phone. Google explains that it created new speech recognition and language understanding models, shrinking the 100GB cloud-based models down to less than half a gigabyte.
By running on your phone, Google Assistant can understand and process your requests as you make them and deliver your answers up to 10 times faster. A demo showed a Google employee jumping between apps with no delay, and thanks to Continued Conversation, they were able to move between apps without repeating "Hey Google" with each request.
The next gen Google Assistant is coming to new Pixel phones later this year.
Also announced today is a new driving mode in Google Assistant. It includes a new dashboard with big buttons that should be easy for you to see while driving as well as a voice-focused user interface. It shows relevant activities like navigation, messaging, calling, and media, and if a call comes in, Assistant will tell you who's calling and ask if you want to answer so that you can do everything with your voice and keep your eyes on the road.
Driving mode is coming to all Android phones with Google Assistant this summer, and you'll be able to turn it on by just saying "Hey Google, let's drive."
Google made a few other Assistant announcements during its I/O 2019 keynote, like Duplex for the Web. This uses Google's Duplex technology that can call businesses to make reservations to also complete tasks online. Duplex on the Web will first support rental car bookings and movie tickets, and it's coming later this year to Android phones with support for English in the U.S. and U.K.
Finally, Google Assistant will now let you turn off a timer or alarm without having to say "Hey Google". Starting today, you can stop a timer or alarm on your Google Home smart speaker or smart display just by saying "Stop".