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A web directory to help you discover Google Assistant Actions
The lack of a proper Google Assistant directory on the web, made Assistant-compatible services difficult to discover, difficult to explain, and difficult to share. For many users, that means they use their Google Home to set a few timers and maybe play music, without ever realizing what else they can do. No more.
Helping users get more done, together
To help users discover the Actions available on the Assistant, Google is introducing a new and updated Actions directory experience. This directory give users even more visibility into everything Assistant can help them do. Also makes it easier for users to share links to your apps. You can also explore them with your Assistant on your Android phone or iPhone — just go to your Assistant, select the blue icon in the corner and dive in. And you may find few gems you never knew the Assistant could do with more Actions always being added.
Actions on Google is now Actions
Since the Assistant can do so many things, Google is introducing a new way to talk about all you can do with your Google Assistant and calling it Actions. It’s the simplest way to get things done. Explore over a million Actions.
Actions include features built by Google — like directions on Google Maps — and those that come from developers, publishers and other third parties, like working out with Fitbit Coach. So finding photos with Google Photos would be one Action while meditating with Headspace would be another. All in all, you can now perform more than a million Actions with the Google Assistant. Those range from looking up cities on Lonely Planet to starting a meditation session.
Stay updated on Google News with the latest updates from Google Home/Assistant ecosystem.
See all categories and subcategories of Google Assistant services and apps, view the details of each one like which devices it’s available on and which commands are possible, and search or check the list of new and trending Assistant integrations. It’s useful if you still haven’t dived into the Google Home/Assistant ecosystem and want to see what is supported. It’s also handy if you have jumped on board but want a more comfortable way to browse through the list. This one is for all Assistant things, including smart home but also trivia, games, sports, shopping, and more.
Pro tip : Adding a custom Chrome Search Engine will make finding Assistant apps 10 times faster than reaching for your phone.
Actions on Google expand to Android and iOS
It’s been little more than a year since Google enabled third-party actions, and there has been clearly a lot of developer interest in building these Actions.
Eat your heart out, Alexa skills.
Actions on Google – the voice-activated apps that are Google’s answer to Alexa’s Skills – are expanding to the new platforms of iOS and Android. With the expansion of Actions on Google to platforms outside of Google Home, it is safe to say this will jump start developer interest and will dramatically increase their reach.
Eventually the ability to use Actions on Google will expand to any and all platforms that the Google Assistant is able to operate on. It even works across devices, so you can pick up your phone and continue your action there if you have to run away for a bit. And, Actions on Google will also be able to support financial transactions, allowing for things like purchases by voice.
What it means is that Google now has a big advantage compared to Amazon Alexa when it comes to a possible install base for third-party developers. Actions created for the Google Home speaker should also work fine on phones, and there will be a lot of additional things developers can do now that they have full access to a screen for their chatbots.
For example, Google demoed ordering delivery from Panera — going through an entire ordering process via voice and tapping. Other actions will also be available, including a much wider array of smart home actions than we had before, when they were tied to specific Google partnerships.
More ways to use the Google Assistant, from your phone to your fridge
The Google Assistant is available across all kinds of devices—from speakers to phones, TVs and more. Until recently, device makers big and small had to use the same Google Assistant regardless of whether they were making the Assistant work with phones, fridges or lights. Now, 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. For example, if a washer has a specific color cycle, you could activate that cycle simply by asking the Google Assistant. It’s a small, but nice addition as makers of smart home products look to distinguish themselves in an increasingly crowded market for smart home devices. To showcase to the new feature, Google apparently made a laundry sorting robot and beer ordering system.
Notifications. Subscribe to notifications on your phone from your favorite Actions, so you can hear about a newly added workout, a change in a stock price, or a news alert, right when it happens. For example, Esquire can send you daily “wisdom tips” to start your day off with a little sage advice and you can ask Forbes for a “quote of the day.”
Better media playback. Now, Actions will support media playback on speakers and Android phones, giving you access to more audio experiences like longer meditation sessions, relaxing sounds, clips from your favorite TV shows and news briefings. With this update, you can also easily pause or replay audio with your voice, or when you’re on your phone, you’ll see a media player you can tap to pause, replay, or even turn the screen off while the audio keeps playing. With The Daily Show Action, for example, you can listen to the latest full and extended interviews. And if your content is more visual than audio-based, Google is also introducing a browse carousel for your Actions that allows you to show browsable content — e.g., products, recipes, places — with a visual experience that users can simply scroll through, left to right.
This is huge for developers creating Actions, as it won’t require targeting specific devices, rather they’ll have developers target specific capabilities. For example, a developer could say their action requires a screen and so it would work on phones but not the Home, or that it is designed to only work on a speaker. In any of those cases, it would work on future devices that have those features.