Actions on Google get better media playback, more subscriptions, and custom commands

Third-parties can now customize Google Assistant voice commands

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From multilingual support and more languages to Routines, Google has been on a roll in recent weeks adding new features to Assistant. These basically allow Assistant devices to understand more specific voice commands. Google will allow developers of Actions to plug into digital purchases including paid app purchases, in-app purchases, and in-app subscriptions. Previously Google has maintained grammar and structure for commands, but under this new feature, Google will allow developers to specify any grammar and command to be executed by their device; this means commands like "set the oven to 180-degrees" or "put the washing machine on a delicate wash" can be added. The newest additions come in the form of Custom Device Actions, and they're about to add one whole heck of a lot of variety to their connected device ecosystem.

Assistant has long supported subscribing to certain tidbits of information, in fact, it was one of the original demo features in the Allo version of Assistant.

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The Assistant was first rolled out in smartphones and Google Home speakers, but now it is present in many devices such as smoke detectors and alarm clocks.

An abundance of user actions can be found in Google's latest updates to "What it can do". Users can turn off the phone screen and still listen to the audio.

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Also starting today, Actions will support media playback and controls on speakers and Android devices. New things like meditation sessions, relaxing sounds, and even clips from TV shows will be available. Even with those limitations, you can still use Assistant Go to ask questions, get directions, and control other features on your phone using voice commands. They will be able to turn off the display and still continue listening to the audio.

Pretty soon you'll be running Assistant Go - and clearing up some extra storage space on your device in the process. For example, you can tell Assistant you want a daily update on cryptocurrency prices from CoinBase. Esquire and Forbes are a few websites taking advantage of this new ability. Starting today, thanks to a new feature for Actions called Custom Device Actions, device makers can extend the Assistant and add "native" functionality specific to their device. It also means you won't have to use the annoying "Talk to [blank]" command. For example, if a washer has a specific color cycle, you could activate that cycle simply by asking the Google Assistant.

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