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21st of January 2018

Technology



Google’s latest Assistant SDK updates make third-party speakers smarter

Google has announced a new batch of updates for its Google Assistant SDK, which lets developers create their own Google Home-like devices powered by Google’s digital assistant that makes third-party and homemade devices closer to Google’s official smart speaker.

The biggest addition is support for third-party actions — essentially Google’s version of Alexa Skills for Assistant — that will let developers using the Assistant SDK directly control their hardware with Assistant. Actions have been available on the official Google Assistant app for smartphones and Google Home speakers, but this marks the first time that Google has opened it to allow developers to use them for direct control of devices. Much like third-party devices with Alexa built-in can control your smart home — like the Ecobee4 for example — third-party devices with Assistant built-in will soon be able to do the same thing.

Additionally, there’s now support for text-based queries and responses — something that the full fledged Assistant has been able to do for a while. Google’s also added several new languages to the Assistant SDK, including English (Australia, Canada, UK, US), French (Canada, France), German, and Japanese.

Lastly, Google has added the ability to allow users to customize settings in an Assistant SDK-based device from the Google Assistant app, allowing users to set things like language and location (which, conveniently, Google has just expanded options for), and toggle personalized results. Users will also now be able to set a fixed GPS location for their SDK devices, enabling better support for location-specific queries like local stores or weather.

The new features for the Assistant SDK are available now — for full details, check out Google’s updated documentation.

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