Google Assistant app adds visual snapshot of daily plans
- Google Assistant, the search giant's voice-based digital assistant, is testing a feature in its mobile app that pulls together all the information from a user's Google account into a snapshot of each day's activities. The service compiles a user's calendar, reminders, flights, restaurant and movie reservations and other records in one place for a high-level view of their day, according to a Google blog post.
- The "visual snapshot" prioritizes navigation features from Google Maps, with a daily itinerary further down the screen. Eventually, the view will have an overview of notes and to-do lists (even those from other apps), parking spot location and a discovery section for new activities and music suggestions, per Engadget.
- Android users over the next few days will see an inbox-like icon to indicate the service is available, while iOS users will see it now as soon as they launch the Assistant app.
Google is among the tech companies vying for dominance in the fledgling market for voice-enabled digital assistants that promise to help people manage their lives with smartphones, smart speakers and connected Internet of Things (IoT) appliances. Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Samsung also have introduced voice assistants, each with particular strengths and weaknesses. Google's "visual snapshot" feature is another sign that the company is focusing on its core competency of organizing information and developing the Assistant as a more useful feature for busy consumers.
Google Assistant has gradually gained market share against Amazon Alexa, the current leader with about two-thirds of the smart speaker market, per eMarketer, and has edged ahead of Alexa for voice shopping. Ad industry executives said Alexa's key strength is Amazon's push to integrate the voice platform with a greater number of devices, along with its integration with the company's e-commerce platform. Google Assistant's strength is in natural language processing and helping people find information more efficiently, per CNBC.
Google also faces challenges from regulators, with the European Union hitting the company with a record antitrust fine of 4.34 billion Euros ($5.06 billion) and ordering changes to its businesses. The bloc's antitrust regulator said Google had abused the dominance of its Android mobile operating system, which runs more than 80% of the world's smartphones, to boost its own mobile apps and services, including its search engine, per The Wall Street Journal. Google plans to appeal the decision, saying that Android has increased competition among smartphone makers that lowers prices for consumers.