Announced at Google I/O in May, Continued Conversation, a new feature for Google Home speakers, was officially launched by the search giant.
Continued Conversation lets users have a natural conversation with Google Assistant back-and-forth, without having to say the trigger word all the time. For example, users will be able to say: “Hey Google, what’s the weather like today?…and tomorrow?…. How is my commute?….and remind me to call……”
Without the feature, users would need to say “Hey Google” every time they request something from the assistant. With the new feature, Google Assistant will stay active for eight seconds to listen for further requests. During the eight seconds, the speaker will keep the LED lights on to let users know that it’s listening.
Amazon similarly released the Follow-Up Mode for its assistant Alexa back in March, allowing it to listen for five more seconds after giving an answer to a question. This saves users from repeating wake-up words as well.
It is not a default feature, however. Users will need to activate it in the Google Assistant app, under Preference in the Settings section. The feature is already rolled out for Google Home Mini, Google Home and Google Home Max speakers in the U.S.
Other Assistant updates announced at Google I/O 2018 include making phone calls and allowing customized routines.
Users can ask the assistant via text or voice to make reservations at a restaurant that doesn’t take online reservations. Google Assistant will ask for the time slot and the number of people, and then make a phone call to complete the restaurant reservation automatically.
This technology, named Duplex, has stirred ethics debates, for machines are making calls on behalf of people talking to others that don’t realize they aren’t talking to a real person. Google didn’t specify the launch timeline of the technology.
Custom routines allow homeowners to create customized routines, which can be called up by any pre-defined trigger phases and perform any sets of automation commands. This feature already went live in May.