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Google Assistant Is Getting 10x Faster, More Personal

Later this year, get ready for a Google Assistant that can answer your questions a lot more quickly.

At the company's Google I/O developer conference today (May 7), Google demonstrated a next generation version of its digital assistant that's housed entirely on your phone. Google's Sundar Pichai says the company used further advances in deep learning to combine and shrink the algorithms the assistant relies on from 100GB down to 0.5GB — small enough to fit on your phone.

"By moving these powerful AI models right on your phone, we are envisioning a paradigm shift," said Scott Huffman, the head engineer for Google Assistant.

That means you'll be able to operate your phone, perform complex multitasking and even access the assistant when you're offline. A demo during the Google I/O keynote showed just what that means in the real world — a Google employee was able to reply to text, summon up and filter photos, operate her phone's flashlight, take a selfie and book a Lyft all with her voice. The assistant responded nearly instantly, finishing those tasks in far less time than it would take you to tap around on your phone.

Google's updated assistant will also be able to differentiate between dictation and performing actions. To demonstrate, in the middle of dictating an email, the Google rep told the assistant to compose a subject line for the email. Instead of placing that in the text of the email, the assistant was smart enough to place the new text in the email's subject line before resuming dictation mode.

The updated Google Assistant will make its debut in the new Pixel phones later this year, Huffman said. Presumably, that means the Pixel 4, which is expected to come out in the fall.

You won't have to wait that long for the Google Assistant to pick up some new features. In the next few weeks, Google is adding a feature called Picks For You. which will bring up more personalized suggestions to your questions — recipes based on your food preferences, for example.

You'll also be able to share information with the assistant about friends and relatives so that the assistant's responses will be personalized for them, too. For example, if Google Assistant knows where your sister lives, it can give you customized weather, traffic and business information without you having to spell out her location with each query.

Check out all the news Google announced at its developer conference on our Google I/O 2019 hub page.

Philip Michaels is a senior editor at Tom's Guide. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics and old movies. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.