Google Assistant ups challenge to Apple's Siri with support for multiple actions & 'contin...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited May 8
At its annual I/O developer event on Tuesday, Google revealed several planned upgrades to Google Assistant, further widening the gap with Apple's Siri.

google-assistant-home


A key addition is "continued conversation," coming this summer, which will let owners of Google Home speakers ask follow-up questions for 8 seconds without repeating "OK/Hey Google." For people concerned about privacy the technology will be purely optional, toggled through the Google Home app. Microphones will also shut off automatically if someone ends a conversation with "thank you."

While continued conversation will initially be limited to Home devices, something coming to both phones and speakers is "multiple actions," the ability to ask two question in a single sentence. In fact the feature is limited to two commands, but in tandem with continued conversation should let people accomplish several actions much faster.

Another planned addition for Home speakers is "Pretty Please." When on, this will provide positive feedback for users who say "please" and "thank you," even nudging them to say "please" if they simply bark an order. It can only be enabled per voice profile, and won't prompt for words after every question in a continued conversation.

The technology is aimed at parents concerned that smartspeakers may be teaching bad manners. It will launch for Home and third-party smartspeakers starting in the summer.

Siri so far lacks any equivalent of the above technologies. Apple's voice assistant has often been criticized as lagging behind Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, particularly on the HomePod, where it's more restricted than on iPhones.

Part of this is attributable to Apple's strict privacy stance, limiting the amount of data Siri can work from, but the company has been ramping up its investments in AI and machine learning to compensate where possible. Some of the fruits of this labor could be revealed at this June's Worldwide Developers Conference.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 2,745member
    A lot of impressive things announced. Your move Apple.
    jbdragonrevenantfeudalistwaverboy
  • Reply 2 of 48
    More of Google just copying Amazon! /s

    The “continued conversations” seems like an easy thing to implement and makes a lot of sense. I also like being able to make separate requests in the same sentence (although “turn on the popcorn maker” is probably not a great example, I imagine one would have to put popcorn into the popcorn maker prior to turning it on and at that point it would likely be easier to turn it on by hand right then. At least, that’s how it works for me...)

    Have we seen any changes to Siri that can be directly attributed to any of those recent (as in the last couple of years) acquisitions we’ve heard about, like VocalIQ, etc.?
    sunwukonglollivermejsricRobPalmer9aegean
  • Reply 3 of 48
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 1,454member
    A lot of impressive things announced. Your move Apple.
    With respect to digital assistants / AI / ML / ambient computing, I would love to see Apple make some serious headway but I'm not banking on it.  Google, MS, and Amazon are so far ahead in this area it isn't even funny.
    patchythepiratesunwukongDAalsethrevenantwaverboy
  • Reply 4 of 48
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 2,745member
    A lot of impressive things announced. Your move Apple.
    With respect to digital assistants / AI / ML / ambient computing, I would love to see Apple make some serious headway but I'm not banking on it.  Google, MS, and Amazon are so far ahead in this area it isn't even funny.
    I’d love to know what happened inside Apple that they dropped the ball here. Was it just a failure of leadership at the top? Someone should write a story on that.
    patchythepiratesunwukongfeudalistwaverboy
  • Reply 5 of 48
    racerhomie3racerhomie3 Posts: 466member
    A lot of impressive things announced. Your move Apple.
    Horsecrap. Most wont get these features ,for 5 years.
    StrangeDayslolliver
  • Reply 6 of 48
    racerhomie3racerhomie3 Posts: 466member
    GA is still a sad joke.
  • Reply 7 of 48
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 1,454member
    A lot of impressive things announced. Your move Apple.
    With respect to digital assistants / AI / ML / ambient computing, I would love to see Apple make some serious headway but I'm not banking on it.  Google, MS, and Amazon are so far ahead in this area it isn't even funny.
    I’d love to know what happened inside Apple that they dropped the ball here. Was it just a failure of leadership at the top? Someone should write a story on that.
    That's my guess.  One is related to Tim Cook's overly-stringent dogma on privacy and not wanting your data.  That's not to say privacy isn't important but there's a trade-off between too much privacy / too little data & poor quality services. The other is Siri languishing for so long under Eddy Cue.  He should never have been put in charge of Siri & Tim Cook should have hired an SVP of AI / Machine Learning from the first day he took over as CEO
    edited May 8 patchythepirate
  • Reply 8 of 48
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 5,904member
    A lot of impressive things announced. Your move Apple.
    With respect to digital assistants / AI / ML / ambient computing, I would love to see Apple make some serious headway but I'm not banking on it.  Google, MS, and Amazon are so far ahead in this area it isn't even funny.
    I’d love to know what happened inside Apple that they dropped the ball here. Was it just a failure of leadership at the top? Someone should write a story on that.
    Apple, always failing in one way or another. Amazing that the company even exists.
    StrangeDaysRayz2016jony0lolliverrandominternetpersonwonkothesaneaegean
  • Reply 9 of 48
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 18,472member
    A lot of impressive things announced. Your move Apple.
    With respect to digital assistants / AI / ML / ambient computing, I would love to see Apple make some serious headway but I'm not banking on it.  Google, MS, and Amazon are so far ahead in this area it isn't even funny.
    I’d love to know what happened inside Apple that they dropped the ball here. Was it just a failure of leadership at the top? Someone should write a story on that.
    That's my guess.  One is related to Tim Cook's overly-stringent dogma on privacy and not wanting your data.  That's not to say privacy isn't important but there's a trade-off between too much privacy / too little data & poor quality services. 
    I expect a discussion of "Federated Learning" as it relates to Google Assistant sometime this week. You can do both IMO which will deeply benefit users. 
    sunwukongtzm41
  • Reply 10 of 48
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 1,454member
    gatorguy said:
    A lot of impressive things announced. Your move Apple.
    With respect to digital assistants / AI / ML / ambient computing, I would love to see Apple make some serious headway but I'm not banking on it.  Google, MS, and Amazon are so far ahead in this area it isn't even funny.
    I’d love to know what happened inside Apple that they dropped the ball here. Was it just a failure of leadership at the top? Someone should write a story on that.
    That's my guess.  One is related to Tim Cook's overly-stringent dogma on privacy and not wanting your data.  That's not to say privacy isn't important but there's a trade-off between too much privacy / too little data & poor quality services. 
    I expect a discussion of "Federated Learning" as it relates to Google Assistant sometime this week. You can do both IMO which will deeply benefit users. 
    Honestly, I hope you're right.
    sunwukong
  • Reply 11 of 48
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,700member
    Go Google doing a number of commands is what Alexa started doing not to long ago. It is a nice feature. Not a HUGE deal. You know what is a big deal? Have you seen Alexa and it's Blueprint? Being able to easily create your own skills?

    https://blueprints.amazon.com/

    Siri is following more and more behind. I have a Alexa Dot and a Google Mini which I got during the Christmas shopping season when these things were selling for $40. That way I can personally play with Alexa, Google and Siri and do my own comparisons to my own needs. Siri works well most of the time, but it also lacks in area's and again falling behind. Also not having a cheap $50, or even $100 option is hurting Apple in this area. While I personally think the Apple Watch is a better overall device as it works in every room I'm in and outside and away from my house. But a Smart Speaker would work better in a family environment for a number of people, not just 1 person.
    edited May 8 sunwukong
  • Reply 12 of 48
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,075member
    Google's access to sensitive private information really is making their assistant more capable for users. It's still up to the individual if this gain in function is a fair tradeoff.
    jasenj1lolliverwonkothesane
  • Reply 13 of 48
    A lot of impressive things announced. Your move Apple.
    Horsecrap. Most wont get these features ,for 5 years.
    You mean 5 months? They said summer 2018 didn't they.
    revenantwaverboy
  • Reply 14 of 48
    canukstormcanukstorm Posts: 1,454member
    A lot of impressive things announced. Your move Apple.
    Horsecrap. Most wont get these features ,for 5 years.
    You mean 5 months? They said summer 2018 didn't they.
    I think what he / she means is, is that most handset makers don't provide Android updates and / or most users won't get an update to Android until they buy a new smartphone.  It isn't anywhere close to iOS where 80%+ users will upgrade to a new version of iOS within a year.
    StrangeDayslolliverireland
  • Reply 15 of 48
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 4,559member
    A lot of impressive things announced. Your move Apple.
    Every conference sounds impressive and everything is assumed to be awesome. Half the consumer stuff Google announced a few years back don’t exist anymore. 
    edited May 8 lolliver
  • Reply 16 of 48
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 4,559member
    A lot of impressive things announced. Your move Apple.
    With respect to digital assistants / AI / ML / ambient computing, I would love to see Apple make some serious headway but I'm not banking on it.  Google, MS, and Amazon are so far ahead in this area it isn't even funny.
    I’d love to know what happened inside Apple that they dropped the ball here. Was it just a failure of leadership at the top? Someone should write a story on that.
    Too busy shipping real products at real volume. 
    lolliver
  • Reply 17 of 48
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 4,559member

    A lot of impressive things announced. Your move Apple.
    With respect to digital assistants / AI / ML / ambient computing, I would love to see Apple make some serious headway but I'm not banking on it.  Google, MS, and Amazon are so far ahead in this area it isn't even funny.
    I’d love to know what happened inside Apple that they dropped the ball here. Was it just a failure of leadership at the top? Someone should write a story on that.
    That's my guess.  One is related to Tim Cook's overly-stringent dogma on privacy and not wanting your data.
    As another said - horseshit. If you believe Google needs everything it wants in order to sell you to advertisers, you’ve drunk the kool-aid. 
    sunwukonglolliver
  • Reply 18 of 48
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 4,559member

    Google's access to sensitive private information really is making their assistant more capable for users.
    I’d love to know how you non-developers feel qualified to state this opinion as if it were fact. 
  • Reply 19 of 48
    buckkalubuckkalu Posts: 10member
    Why is it that every time some complains about something Apple does not do well, they get attached like Apple can do no wrong?  I have been using Apple products for years and we have many in the house but Siri and maps SUCK!  I have so many issues with both it’s not funny.  I drive a lot for work and try to be hands free as much as possible but Siri and maps are so frustrating that I am surprised my veins haven’t popped.  Just earlier today I was looking for a particular location.  I was on the road and knew it was a few kilometres ahead and asked Siri for directions so I would not miss it.  Sure enough it gave me another of their locations instead that was over 30 minutes away.  I tried again and mentioned the street name this time and it gave gave me ice cream stores I had never heard of.   Many times I will ask it for directions with an address and it gives me options in the US even though I am in Toronto.  It’s f$$$ing ridiculous how bad they both are.  After using Siri since inception it seems it does not know any of my tendencies.  It’s a frickin joke.  Surprisingly I haven’t gotten into an accident yet when I get frustrated as it happens almost on a daily basis.
    sunwukongpatchythepirateavon b7tzm41irelandrevenantfeudalistwaverboy
  • Reply 20 of 48
    sunwukongsunwukong Posts: 20member
    A lot of impressive things announced. Your move Apple.
    With respect to digital assistants / AI / ML / ambient computing, I would love to see Apple make some serious headway but I'm not banking on it.  Google, MS, and Amazon are so far ahead in this area it isn't even funny.
    I’d love to know what happened inside Apple that they dropped the ball here. Was it just a failure of leadership at the top? Someone should write a story on that.
    That's my guess.  One is related to Tim Cook's overly-stringent dogma on privacy and not wanting your data.  That's not to say privacy isn't important but there's a trade-off between too much privacy / too little data & poor quality services. The other is Siri languishing for so long under Eddy Cue.  He should never have been put in charge of Siri & Tim Cook should have hired an SVP of AI / Machine Learning from the first day he took over as CEO
    Actually, I would fully expect Apple to make use of all the information they have available to them, and they should.  Stupid not to, and it is even necessary I imagine in several scenarios.  What they go on about is that they are not SELLING that data to others.  There was an article recently with information about how to obtain from Apple all the data that it does indeed have on you.  

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/apple-took-8-days-to-give-me-the-data-it-had-collected-on-me-it-was-eye-opening/ar-AAwJ5Ej

    Apple is not, "not wanting your data", their business model is sufficient to not need to sell it, (now). 


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