Actions on Google, the Google Assistant’s version of what Amazon calls ‘skills,’ have been around for a while, but Google today announced it is expanding the platform to support a wider group of international developers, in addition to a number of other features for the platform.
Maybe the most important update here is that Actions are now available in seven new languages: Hindi, Thai, Indonesian, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and Dutch. These join English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Russian as fully supported languages for developers. This also means that Google’s Dialogflow tool for building conversational interfaces now supports these languages, too.
In addition, Google is also making it easier to translate Actions by letting developers export their directory listing information as a file.
One of the new features rolling out to all developers is the ability to create a deep link to an Android app from Google Assistant Actions. “By the end of the year the Assistant will reach 95 percent of all eligible Android phones worldwide, and Actions are a great way for you to reach those users to help them get things done easily over voice,” writes Google product manager Brad Abrams in today’s announcement. “Sometimes, however, users may benefit from the versatility of your Android app for particularly complex or highly interactive tasks.”
Developers now also get the ability to better understand location-based queries from their users. By connecting Actions to the Google Places API, developers can now have conversations about places. That means that if a user asks for say ‘Starbucks’ and there are a few around the user’s current location, the Assistant can then ask more questions about where exactly you want to go.
And for users who regularly use a given developer’s Actions, the Assistant can now automatically cut back on introductions so that users can get things done faster.