5 Big Changes Coming to Google Assistant

Google's digital assistant is about to pick up a new set of skills. The Google Assistant will soon be able to combine multiple tasks into a single command, speak multiple languages and set location-based reminders from one of Google's speakers. And look for the assistant to arrive on more Android phones, too.

Credit: Google

(Image credit: Google)

Google outlined its assistant's newfound powers in a blog post published today (Feb. 23). Here's what you can expect Google Assistant to be able to handle in the very near future.

Google Assistant will become a multitasker: The most intriguing new feature coming to Google Assistant was actually announced by Google last year. But Google says that Routines — a feature that lets you accomplish multiple tasks with just one command — will hit the U.S. in the coming weeks.

Specifically, Google Assistant is adding support for six routines aimed at tackling tasks in the morning as you're trying to get out the door, during your commute to and from work, and upon your arrival back at home.

In one specific example cited by Google, you'll be able to tell the assistant that you're home, and your Google Home speaker will turn on lights, start a playlist and pass along any home-related reminders about chores, calls or other tasks. It sounds a lot like features offered by both Amazon's Alexa assistant and Siri through Apple's HomeKit automation platform.

Location-based reminders coming to more devices: You can already use the assistant on your Android phone to remind you of tasks when you're arriving at or about to leave a specified location. In the coming weeks, Google plans to add that capability to its Google Home speaker lineup.

Google Assistant will speak more languages: Google's digital assistant is currently available in eight languages. That number will reach 30 by the end of 2018, with anish, Dutch, Hindi, Indonesian, Norwegian, Swedish and Thai among the languages joining the mix in a few months.

More significantly, Google Assistant is going to become multilingual, allowing it to understand commands from multiple languages. Google believes this feature will be a big hit in households that speak more than one language. Initially, multilingual support will be limited to English, French and German with more languages coming over time.

Better integration into more phones: You can already find Google Assistant on plenty of Android devices. But Google says it's working with phone makers at even deeper tie-ins, allowing phones to add more device-specific commands or to use wake words that activate the assistant even if the phone's screen is off. Specifically, Google teased new integrations for its assistant with hardware from LG, Sony and Xiaomi.

Google Assistant will work with your wireless carrier:
Google isn't satisfied with just phones turning to its assistant; it wants to work with your wireless provider, too. Through Google's Assistant Carrier program, the search giant says that wireless providers will be able to work with the digital assistant to let subscribers access customer support, add new services and get information about their monthly plan.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.