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Google Assistant just got its biggest upgrade ever: Real-time on-device voice recognition

Updated May 7th, 2019 3:16PM EDT
Google Assistant
Image: YouTube

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It’s the first day of Google’s I/O 2019 developers event, which means the main keynote of the show is well underway. Google started the show with a few neat Search tricks, including brand new AR and camera features, and then proceeded to unveil its next advancements in Duplex and Assistant.

Google Duplex

After introducing Google Duplex last year, a feature that lest you use the Google Assistant to make reservations at restaurants via phone calls, Google just launched a different Duplex feature, one they refer to as “Duplex on the web.”

Going forward, you’ll be able to use Duplex to make reservations online. Google offered a handy example on stage, using Duplex to book a car rental.

The Assistant was able to go to the website you like, fill out the form with your data, and then ask for confirmations. Duplex will know what car you prefer, but you’ll be able to customize your rental during the reservation process.

Google Assistant voice-recognition

The most interesting Google Assistant feature that Google unveiled at I/O is easily the most important upgrade the app has received since Google launched the service. Google CEO Sundar Pichai explained that Google was able to shrink down the voice recognition program down to 0.5GB from 100GB. That means that voice recognition is supposed to be incredibly fast, as everything will happen on the phone or tablet.

Google demoed the feature on stage, and it worked great for the most part. The phone was able to recognize the Google Assistant commands almost instantaneously and perform the required actions equally fast.

The Assistant was able to easily switch between apps, perform actions and deliver search results with ease. It’s by far the most exciting Google Assistant demo we’ve seen so far, and it all happened live.

Maggie, the person who demoed the feature, used her voice to reply to a text, search for “photos with animals“ on the phone, and then send photos in the same app. Again, everything was done via voice.

The Assistant is even smart enough to recognize a command from the contents of an email, which is impressive.

These advanced Google Assistant features are coming to new Pixel phones later this year, Google explained. Does that mean that all Pixel phones will support it, or just the new Pixel 4 phone? That’s something Google is yet to explain.

Here’s what Google’s new Assistant looks like:

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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