The Google Home smart speaker has been on the market for a very short time and while the company's latest speaker is slowly making its way to users' homes throughout the United States, the Mountain View-based tech giant is already looking towards the future. More specifically, Google is planning ways in which it can expand the functionality of its connected speaker. With that in mind, the company just announced that all developers will soon be able to start creating the so-called 'Conversation Actions' for its smart speaker. As the company's Jason Douglas explained, these actions allow developers to deliver information, assistance, and other services to their users upon request. As their name implies, they're also conversational, i.e. users activate them by voice. However, the best part of this new functionality is that Conversation Actions don't rely on specific skills or apps, they work without users having to install any particular plugin.
To demonstrate this new feature, the Google Home team debuted two simple Conversation Actions, "talk to Number Genie" and "talk to Eliza". Now, as you may deduce from these two commands, Conversation Actions actually rely on third-party conversational bots. In other words, the reason why they work without installing any additional skills or apps is because they're just a method for Google Assistant to redirect your query to another AI-powered bot hosted by another set of servers. Developers interested in trying out this new set of tools can do so by visiting the official Actions for Google website and registering for Google's early access partner program. Unfortunately, the Mountain View-based firm has yet to reveal when these actions will become fully available to all developers. For now, we're told to expect this functionality in early 2017, while some select partners have already been approved and are working on new Conversation Actions as of right now.
Now, it's worth noting that Conversation Actions are currently only supported by Google Home. While the Google Pixel and the Pixel XL also support Google Assistant, the mobile version of the company's AI-powered companion will receive this functionality at a later date, and the same goes for Google Allo. Looking even further towards the future, Google revealed plans to integrate bookings and other purchases into Google Assistant. So, if you're interested in starting developing solutions using these new tools, register for the company's early access partner program.