In 2012, Google Voice Search was integrated with Google Now. The combination of both products functioned as Google’s primitive assistant competitor to the likes of Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana. Google Now and Voice Search were part of the Google app on Android devices, and had extensive, ever-growing functionality. Then, in 2016, Google released Google Assistant as the company’s new AI-powered personal assistant, and renamed Google Now to Google feed in the process. Originally, it was temporarily exclusive to Google’s first-party Pixel devices, and played a significant part as being promoted as one of the Pixel’s exclusive features.
However, it was available for all Android users in Google Allo — Google’s newest messaging app. In March, Google made Assistant available to all devices running Android Marshmallow and higher. Since then, it has continued to get feature updates, including the broadcast feature, local delivery and home service support in the US, integration with Google Lens, and more. The number of countries supported by Assistant keeps increasing. Also, Google recently made Assistant available for Android tablets as well.
Google Assistant has the capability to give navigation suggestions on the basis of users’ data given to Google. Now, Assistant has started to test commute preferences in order to give better navigation suggestions as well. To better understand commute routines, Assistant will ask how the user normally gets to work: by car, public transport, bike or walk. It will also ask how the user normally gets around, giving the same set of options. The second question will play a role in deciding default navigation behavior for directions other than home and work.
By getting access to a user’s commute information, Google Assistant will then feed that data into its system to give navigation suggestions using the user’s preferred type of commute. This is an improvement for Assistant’s capabilities, and it’s sure to increase convenience as navigation will require less fiddling to achieve the right result. As there still remains a long way to go for personal assistants to start feeling complete, Google’s effort to provide better navigation suggestions is welcome news for Assistant users.