Google Assistant is one again getting a number of big features and improvements starting today. The announcement came as Google prepares its South By Southwest (SXSW) presence which, like Mobile World Congress last month, will be heavily focused on Assistant. To help kick it off, they have announced two major features.
First, you will soon be able to subscribe to Actions in Google Assistant and get notifications for them. This may sound familiar as you can subscribe and get notifications in Assistant for things like the weather already. This new feature however, would allow you to subscribe to a service that gives you stock price changes or a news alert that is not from Google themselves. They used the example of Esquire which can give you wisdom tips for the day. Soon you will be able to get those wisdom tips in Assistant daily without having to ask for them.
The second big change is improved media playback. This is rolling out today. Actions will now support media playback on speakers and Android phones which gives you access to more audio experiences. You will also be able to pause and replay audio with voice commands, or from the media control panel on your Android Phone.
Finally, there are also several new Actions that are available starting today. These include American Idol, Trivia from iHeartRadio, Calm, The Mindfulness App where you can talk to these Actions for trivia, music or to meditate. These are great examples actually of what Google is wanting to do with Actions in Google Assistant and gives you a feel for what is possible.
Of course, for these actions to work, developers have to enable them so not every service out there is supported yet.