It might be found on smartphones and tablets, but Google Assistant is also available on third-party smart speakers. That is thanks to the Google Assistant SDK, which allows companies to integrate Google Assistant into their devices and was recently updated to include more languages and features, according to Google’s recent blog post.
First up is the improved language support, with the SDK now supporting English in Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US, French in Canada and France, German, and Japanese. Seeing how Google Assistant continues to expand into more countries, it makes sense for the SDK’s language support to be expanded.
Next up are customizable device settings, which allow developers to change a device’s language, location, and nickname to give you more personalized results. With regards to location, developers can now configure their devices either based on the exact street address or latitude and longitude. Regardless, the changes allow for more specific questions to be answered equally as specific.
The last two features are support for text-based queries and responses, as well as Device Actions. New functionality introduced today, Device Actions allow for hardware-specific control of smart home actions. For example, third-party devices with Google Assistant support will be able to control your lights or change the temperature setting.
Taken together, the idea behind the update to the Google Assistant SDK seems to be for Google to go tit-for-tat with Amazon and Alexa. By comparison, Alexa has already shown up on third-party speakers and retains its smart home controls on those speakers. Alexa is also available in many more countries around the world — Amazon recently introduced its Alexa-backed Echo speakers to 80 new countries.
Now it’s up to developers and manufacturers to update their devices with the new features. The new Google Assistant SDK is rolling out now, so we’ll keep a close eye to see which companies update their existing devices.