Google Assistant, Driving Mode, & Lens to Receive Major Upgrades in 2019

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Apple’s Siri and Amazon Alexa may soon have some superior competition to deal with in the interactive voice assistant space. As of Tuesday’s Google I/O developer’s conference, the company previewed some of the interesting new features upgrades their Google Assistant will get.

According to CNET’s report on Tuesday, the biggest developments start with the next generation of Assistant becoming faster and utilizing more information than ever before. Based on their report and information shared at the developer’s conference, Assistant will give users “answers up to 10 times faster” than before.

In addition, it will automatically know to launch the Instagram app and find a specific person’s page based on a request such as “show me Kim Kardashian’s Instagram” or another name. A demo provided from Google showed someone able to make “rapid-fire” requests from Google Assistant with it handling them quickly and accurately.

There will also be a new Assistant Driving Mode which Android smartphone users can benefit from. By saying, “Hey Google, let’s drive,” it allows users to a special driving navigation mode and view on the phone. That will incorporate aspects of a user’s personal calendar, music, missed calls, and Google Maps. So while driving, it may suggest returning a phone call or offering directions to your next calendar location. In addition to having a map of directions, it will allow for listening to music or podcasts as one drives to their location.

It bodes well for Google Assistant if it becomes a “go-to search tool” for smartphone and other device users. Assistant is already on one billion devices as it’s part of the top mobile operating system in the world, Android. The company has yet to effectively take over in terms of the smart home space, but based on these new revelations, it appears they are probably working hard towards becoming that in-home presence too.

In addition to the Assistant upgrades, Google Lens also appears to be better than before. During Tuesday’s conference, they indicated that users with Google on their smartphones will be able to scan a menu using their phones and find out the most popular options. In addition, it was suggested customers could look at all available menu items and see pictures of the dishes. A video appeared on Twitter showing off these new features.

The Google I/O developers conference took place at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California, on Tuesday (May 9). For more details on everything that Google discussed, check out CNET’s updated reports here.

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