The Google Assistant is a virtual assistant powered by artificial intelligence and developed by Google that is primarily available on mobile and smart home devices. Unlike Google Now, the Google Assistant can engage in two-way conversations.
Assistant initially debuted in May 2016 as part of Google’s messaging app Allo, and its voice-activated speaker Google Home. After a period of exclusivity on the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, it began to be deployed on other Android devices in February 2017, including third-party smartphones and Android Wear (now Wear OS, and was released as a standalone app on the iOS operating system in May. Alongside the announcement of a software development kit in April 2017, the Assistant has been, and is being, further extended to support a large variety of devices, including cars and smart home appliances. The functionality of the Assistant can also be enhanced by third-party developers.
Users primarily interact with the Google Assistant through natural voice, though keyboard input is also supported. In the same nature and manner as Google Now, the Assistant is able to search the Internet, schedule events and alarms, adjust hardware settings on the user’s device, and show information from the user’s Google account. Google has also announced that the Assistant will be able to identify objects and gather visual information through the device’s camera, and support purchasing products and sending money, as well as identifying songs.
At CES 2018, the first Assistant-powered smart displays (smart speakers with video screens) were announced, with the first one being released in July 2018.
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