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Google's New Assistant Takes on Siri and Alexa

Google announced a new AI, the Google Assistant, during its press conference at Google I/O in Mountain View, Calif.

"We want to help you get things done in your real world," CEO Sundar Pichai said regarding the virtual assistant. He cited Amazon's Echo as an example of a competitor causing excitement in the space.

Credit: Google

(Image credit: Google)

The Assistant taps into its knowledge of users to assist in answering questions, making food orders, ordering movie tickets and sorting photos, among other things.

"[We're] building each user their own individual Google," Pichai said.

When he asked the Assistant (with the usual "OK Google" command) who directed "The Revenant," it answered correctly: Alejandro González Iñárritu. Pichai pointed out that it could answer a follow up query like "show me his awards," without stating a proper name again. Amazon's Echo and Apple's Siri have been able to do this for awhile now.

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Pichai also demonstrated buying movie tickets. The Assistant picked three options, and then adapted when he said he wanted to bring the kids. It knew how many tickets Pichai wanted, though we still wonder how it picked the time (perhaps off of his calendar).

The Google Assistant works on computers, Android phones, Android Wear, Android Auto and on the newly announced Google Home. They also showed a user chatting with the Google Assistant in its new messaging app, Allo. A firm release date was not announced. Third party developers will include Instacart and Uber, with more coming at release.

We look forward to interacting with Google Assistant when we test Google Home and when our other devices are updated.

Andrew E. Freedman

Andrew E. Freedman is an editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming as well as keeping up with the latest news. He holds a M.S. in Journalism (Digital Media) from Columbia University. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Kotaku, PCMag, Complex, Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag among others.