At one of the largest hardware events in Google’s history Tuesday, all software announcements made were around its Google Assistant, the new way to complete tasks and chat with the Google search engine.
For now, Google Assistant is the only bot on Google Home or Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, but it won’t be alone for long.
Starting in early December, Actions on Google will allow businesses and the rest of the world to build bots people can access while using Google Assistant, like the Microsoft Bot Framework or Alexa Skills Kit.
“The Google Assistant will be our next thriving open ecosystem,” said Scott Huffman, lead engineer of Google Assistant.
About 40 companies are in the first batch to bring their services to Google Assistant, and though the exact nature of how bots from these companies will function, knowing the kinds of companies Google will work with first tells us a bit about the kind of features the Assistant will have.
News (12), music (4), and Internet of Things (4) bots make up more than half of the companies showcased during the Google keynote. These categories are among the first to join third-party ecosystems for assistants from tech giants like Cortana, Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant. Here are some of the companies working with Google that stand out.
Movie recommendations from And Chill
You won’t see their logo on the list above, but the startup And Chill is one of the partner companies working with Google Assistant, And Chill founder Jake Cohn told VentureBeat.
And Chill makes movie recommendations based on your favorite actor or exactly what it is you like about Denzel Washington in The Magnificent Seven.
“We’re pumped to be a part of the group of Google Assistant partners that you saw onstage,” Cohn said.
This bot made its debut in May. Last month, And Chill had more than 25,000 users and sent 175,000 messages, Cohn said.
Cocktail recipes from Midnight Signal
Midnight Signal is maker of The Bartender, an Alexa skill that helps you make more than 12,000 different kinds of cocktails. Food recipes from Food Network may also be on the menu for Google Assistant.
Meditation with Headspace
This mindfulness and meditation service promises to teach you the basics of meditation in 10 minutes a day over the course of 10 days. Headspace has special meditations for different moments in your life: You can meditate before you cook, if you’re having a bad day, or experiencing relationship troubles.
Restaurant reservations with OpenTable
This functionality was shown off during the Google keynote Tuesday. Using only your voice, OpenTable can make reservations at nearby restaurants.
Vivino is a wine delivery service and community of enthusiasts.
Answer questions with Jelly and Quora
One thing you probably don’t expect to see on this list: a search engine. Jelly calls itself a search engine for busy people. Jelly acts like a search engine, but it’s also a bit like Quora.
Quora, whose crowdsourced answers to questions are coming to Alexa in the coming weeks, will also be part of Google Assistant, and is sort of strange to see here too, considering the fact that Google is able to draw upon 70 billion facts.
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