Google Assistant is coming to take over your gadgets. The new AI-powered chatbot is built into Allo and Google Home, and is likely to appear in pretty much every Google product from this point forward. But what exactly does it do? Here are 14 commands you can try now if you install Allo for Android or iOS.
Google Photos user? You can use Google Assistant to intelligently search through your picture library and look for photos of people, places, objects and so on. You can also search based on when they were taken, so “January” or “last week” for example.
It seems any AI interface of note can give you a weather forecast, and Google Assistant is no different, giving you a short weather update for any part of the world you like. You can specify time periods (e.g. “this weekend”) if needed, and look up sunset and sunrise times.
Google Assistant can set reminders for you, though at this stage it looks like they stay in the app (they don’t appear in Google Keep for instance). Either set out all the parameters of the reminder in your original command, or let the Assistant prompt you for details.
Just like the regular Google search engine, the Assistant can mine Gmail for details of flight reservations, hotel bookings, and upcoming trips. Ask to see your flights in a list or specify a particular trip you’re interested in and the Assistant comes back with the details.
Google Assistant can do quick math for you as well to save you having to switch to your calculator app, and it will even suggest follow-up calculations you might want to try as well. The chatbot can also convert between different units, like foreign currencies.
If you want to hear some good music, then Google Assistant can take on the role of DJ for you, though on Allo for iOS it’s currently limited to linking to a YouTube video (on Allo for Android, you can specify your choice of music app for the Assistant to open up).
Need more info about the upcoming US election or indeed any news topic? Just ask Google Assistant to give it to you. As with many of the Assistant’s responses, you can subscribe for regular daily updates on your chosen topic, delivered through Allo.
As you might expect, Google Assistant handles directions and travel times very well too, in partnership with Google Maps. You can ask how far somewhere is, or how long it will take to get somewhere, or you can say something like “walking directions to...” to a location.
The Google Assistant has some rather entertaining games you can fill some spare time with, and if you say “let’s play a game” then the bot shows you what’s available. Options include solitaire, tic-tac-toe, quiz games, drawing games, and games based around chat.
Another strange use of Google Assistant is to have it recite poems for you, apparently plucked pretty much at random from the web. Using the smart replies inside the Allo app you can follow up one poem with another and even have them delivered daily to you.
If you’re planning a night out, Google Assistant can come in very handy. Ask it to recommend nearby bars or restaurants and you get a series of Google Now-style cards with details, and you can tap any of them for more details on a place (like opening times).
Fancy a night at the movie theater? Ask Google Assistant about movies currently showing and it gives you a tailored response based on your current location. As with nearby places, you can tap on any of the cards to see a plot synopsis and the film’s current IMDb rating.
Another app that Google Assistant works well with is Gmail. You can have it show the most recent emails from your inbox, or ask to see messages from a particular person, or ask to see emails from a particular day. On Android, you can tap through to see the emails.
Google Assistant taps into your main Google Calendar to bring up a list of your upcoming appointments. You can either specify a particular time window in your query or ask “what’s my next meeting?” or “show me my agenda” to see every event that’s coming up.