Google makes it easier to create custom Assistant commands for devices

Google Assistant just made a huge play for the Amazon Alexa device market

Google Assistant gets slew of new features, better 3rd party integration

Google has worked with a group called Red Paper Heart to make an installation called Talk to Light that acts as a sort of artistic expression of Assistant's new ability. The features are rolling out now, and others will be live shortly. Custom Device Actions are way to add specific functions to products.

Users can speak with Google Assistant devices by saying "OK, Google" followed by several new phrases starting today.

Google today introduced a series of new features for its Actions on Google platform for third-party voice apps, including a new browsing carousel to showcase content and greater control over the kind of audio an action can play. For example, you can be notified of a stock price change or news alert as it happens. Voice commands can be used to pause or replay media, and a media player will appear on your phone. Developers of Actions do need to add this feature, so not all of them will work right off the bat.

Lastly, Google Assistant also now allows you to ask for periodic notifications from apps that support Actions, such as Forbes' "Quote of the Day". The feature allows an action to be made aware if you paid for premium content in an app. a The concent can subsequently be made available for you.

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Not really the showiest of SXSW announcements, but Google's got a nice little update for developers looking to differentiate Assistant integration on a product level.

Finally, here's a big one, OEMs will now be able to add custom Assistant commands to their devices.

Amazon's Alexa may have more "skills" and connect with more services, but when it comes to artificial intelligence smarts, Google Assistant has the competition beat (sorry Siri, it isn't even close).

Google has opened up a "Fun House" in Austin, Texas for South by Southwest where they're presumably showing off all these cool new features, so if you're in the area head over and check them out. I'm not quite thrilled at the prospect of speaking to my appliances, but that's the future, and that's how it's going to be.

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