In 2018, the Google Assistant learned to speak new languages (Nǐ hǎo!), expanded to new regions (like the Netherlands, Indonesia and Turkey), and became smarter with new features that can help you throughout your day. Along the way, more people started using the Assistant to get some help—active users of the Google Assistant grew four times over the past year. By the end of this month, we expect the Google Assistant to be available on one billion devices, up from 500 million last May.
Here are some of the ways the Assistant became more helpful in 2018:
- Google Home for the holidays: It was another record year for our Google Home family of devices, with millions sold this holiday season. Smart displays were particularly popular—one out of every seven Google Home devices activated over the holiday period was a Google Home Hub. With a rich visual display for photos, videos and visual answers, people found new ways to use their Assistant on Google Home Hub—hundreds of millions of photos were shown and hundreds of millions of minutes of music and videos were enjoyed over this holiday season.
- The Assistant went global: We taught the Assistant to speak new languages and understand local cultures—it’s now in nearly 30 languages and 80 countries, up from eight languages and 14 countries last year. And the Assistant became multilingual, so you can speak more than one language to it at home.
- Smart home central: You can manage your smart home all in one place with the Google Assistant, which is now compatible with over 10,000 smart home devices from over 1,600 popular brands. The number of smart devices that have been connected to the Google Assistant increased more than 600% over the last year.
- Book your table with Pixel: Pixel users in select states in the U.S. were the first to get access to an experimental new Google Assistant feature—powered by Duplex technology—which helps you complete tasks over the phone, like calling a restaurant to book a table.
- Natural conversation: The Assistant became a smarter conversationalist, so it can understand and respond to you naturally. Last summer, we introduced Continued Conversation, which lets you have a natural back-and-forth conversation with the Assistant. The Assistant can also understand more complex requests, so you can ask about many things at once, like “What’s the weather like in New York and in Austin?” And Pretty Please helped people encourage polite manners with their family.
- Broadcast to your family: When you’re on the go, it’s easier to stay connected to your loved ones with Broadcast replies. This holiday season, more than 24 million broadcast messages and replies were sent.
- Cooking companion: With our line-up of new Smart Displays and Google Home Hub, the Google Assistant can give you a hand in the kitchen with recipes and step-by-step cooking instructions, and we made it an even better sous chef with smart recommendations based on the time of day and your preferences. People used Google Home devices to cook over 16 million recipes this holiday season, with over a million recipes used on Christmas day alone.
- Family time: From family games to story time to music, we worked to make the Assistant a great way to connect and enjoy time with your family. You can ask the Assistant to read along some of your favorite titles with you, complete with sound effects and music that bring the story to life. And you can sing along to your favorite songs with your Smart Display. And for families with kids, parents probably could have guessed that “Baby Shark” was the most requested song on Google Home speakers this holiday season.
- Getting organized: Notes and lists in the Google Assistant made holiday shopping a little less stressful, helping you add and keep track of lists with just your voice. We also helped you get many things done with just one command with Routines. You can even start a routine by hitting dismiss on your alarm right from the Clock app on Android.
- Eight new voices: Thanks to advancements in AI, we can now create new voices for the Assistant in just a few weeks, while capturing subtleties like pitch, pace and all the pauses that convey meaning—so the voices are natural-sounding and unique. We brought eight new voices for the Google Assistant in the U.S. this year, including voices with British and Australian accents.
- Smart suggestions on your phone: We gave the Assistant on your phone a fresh look and made it more helpful. You can see a quick snapshot of your day, with suggestions and visual reminders based on the time of day, location and recent interactions with the Assistant.
- Book a ride and movie tickets: We made it easier to plan your night out, with features like booking a ride service from the Assistant and buying movie tickets from Fandango.
- Take care of your IOUs: You can use the Google Assistant to pay your friends back with Google Pay, so you can spend more time having fun and less time dealing with the hassle of paying each other back.
From day one, we’ve built the Assistant with one goal in mind: to help you get things done. Tomorrow, we’ll unveil even more ways the Assistant can help you at home, in the car and on the go at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. If you’re at CES, be sure to swing by the Google Assistant Playground (Central Plaza-1) for a firsthand look!