Intro to the Google Assistant: Build Your First Action (Google I/O’19)



if you’re new to developing for the Google assistant you have come to the right talk and if you’re an experienced assistant developer don’t worry we’re gonna tell you what’s new our mission for the Google assistant is to be the best way to get things done that is an ambitious mission I think it sort of rhymes with organize the world’s information and make it useful and accessible and just like Google searches mission from 20 years ago our mission today for the assistant requires a large and vibrant ecosystem of developers and that’s where all of you come in so whether you’re joining us here the amphitheater shoreline watching on the livestream or on YouTube later this talk is going to tell you how you can make your experiences shine on the Google assistant if you’re a Content owner this talk is going to tell you about markup and templates and how you can make your content look great on the assistant and if you’re an Android developer wait I hear there’s a few Android developers here today where are the Android developers where are you yes thank you if you’re an Android developer this talk is going to tell you how you can use app actions to voice enable your Android apps and if you’re an innovator in this new generation of conversational computing this talk is going to cover interactive canvas and conversational actions how you can use HTML CSS and JavaScript to build rich immersive actions for the assistant and if you’re among the few the proud the hardware developers at i/o any hardware developers a couple this talk is going to tell you about the new innovations in the smart home SDK but before we do any of that Naomi is gonna tell us a little bit about why now is the right time for you to invest in the Google Assistant we’re gonna start by going back in time I want you to think about when you first use the computer for some of you it was the 80s maybe you played a game or store to receipt or if it was the mid-80s you even used a word processor for others it may have been the 90s games are a little bit better and you navigated via the mouse instead of the command line ten years after computers entered our home cell phones entered many of our hands and by the mid to late 90s communication was more portable than it had ever been before but it was still very early you remember the days when text messaging was a game of back and forth between the inbox and the sent folders yes we’ve come a long way now another 10 years later in about 2007 the first smartphones entered the market and then mobile computing exploded so you may notice a trend here about every 10 years or so there’s a fundamental shift in the way that we are computing from desktop to mobile and now to conversation so what does these chips mean for all of you as developers well it means that you have a lot to think about a lot to build on and a whole lot to build with and this is because each new wave is additive to the one that came before we’re still clicking we’re still typing we’re still tapping and yes now we’re also talking we’re looking for more assistance in our daily lives and we’re turning to the devices around us to get things done now Google’s approach to this era of conversational computing is the Google assistant it’s a conversation between the user and Google that helps them get things done in addition to the Google assistant there are also assistant enabled devices like Google Home Android phones and more and finally there’s actions on Google which is our third party platform this enables developers to build their own experience on the assistant it’s an entirely new way to engage with your users as they’re using conversation to get their things done and it was announced on this very stage just three years ago now in just a few short years we’ve seen an incredible evolution in terms of how users are talking to the assistant and this presents opportunities for developers across the globe now think back to those first use cases on conversational platforms they were very very simple and straightforward they were limited to things like turn on the music turn on the lights turn off the music turn off the lights again simple straightforward commands that fulfilled users very low and limited expect a shion’s but there have been three incredible shifts in querying that have occurred over the last couple of years first we’re seeing that users are having longer conversations in fact query strings on the assistant are about 20% longer than similar queries on search second they’re more conversational they’re 200 times more conversational than search so queries are going from whether nine four zero four three two something like do I need an umbrella today like you might ask a friend a family member or even a real-life assistant and third queries are action-oriented it’s 40 times more action-oriented than search so users aren’t just searching for information but they’re actually looking to get things done they’re finding that restaurant for Friday night and they’re booking that dinner reservation and the evolution of the query is due to a couple things happening simultaneously so first we’re seeing that technology is improving natural language processing and understanding improvements have actually decreased the word error rate which is a key metric for speech recognition it’s now better than what humans can understand simultaneously the number of assistant ready devices has soared so it’s turned this new way of computing into an ambient one it’s always there when we need it no matter what environment we’re in or what device were on it’s magical but it poses a really new challenge for all of us which is how do we reach the right user with the right experience in the right moment all at the same time so sync – a pretty typical day we’ll talk about some of the touch points where the assistant might be helpful so first you wake up good start now if you’re anything like me you really would love to keep your eyes shut for that extra 20 seconds but you also need to kick start your day and find out where you need to be and when well the assistant can help with that now you’re waiting for the subway you’re in a crowded loud station you have a couple of moments of idle time before that train comes to maybe pre-order your cup of coffee or by your friend that birthday gift you’ve been meaning to send them you’re the assistant on your mobile or your watch can help in those moments as well and finally you’re sitting on the couch the end of a long day your laptop or your mobile phone are probably not too far away but neither is your Google home it’s there to help you so across these moments and more Google is handling the orchestration that’s required to deliver that personalized experience for the user with the context appropriate content so you as the developer don’t have to worry about which experience which device which manner you can just leave that to us so what does this mean for the developer well you have more ways than ever to be there for your user you can reach users across the globe in over 19 languages across 80 countries on over 1 billion divisive today with over 1 million actions but more than that it’s actually easier than it’s ever been and this is something we’re all really excited about I know we’re all balancing far too many projects for the numbers of hours in a day so today we’re going to talk about how you can get started if you have an hour a week or even an entire quarter to build for the assistant we’ll talk about how to use existing ecosystems as well as how to build net new for the assistant and we’ll focus on four major pillars so first we’ll talk about how to use your existing content this leverages what you’re already doing in search so web developers we’re gonna be looking at you for this one second we’ll talk about how to extend your existing Android investments leverage the continued investments you’re making in your mobile apps and app developers I heard you before so you’re gonna want to pay attention to that section third we’ll talk about how to build net new for the assistant so if you’re an innovator in the conversational space we will share how to get started and finally hardware developers saw a few hands go up before where if you’re looking to control your existing device cloud our smart home section will appeal to all of you within each section we’ll talk about what it is and how to get started but before we do Dan is gonna tee up a very sweet example that we will use throughout the rest of our presentation so a single unifying example that shows all the different ways you can use Google assistant now this gets me thinking about two things one I love s’mores I have a sweet tooth and I’m also an engineer here in Silicon Valley home of tech startups of all kinds and the tech hub of the world so how can I combine my love of s’mores and my love of Technology talking it over with my colleagues Brad and Naomi we thought of the idea of using a fictional example company that you as a developer can show all of the different ways that assistant can help you and your company with things like building a global brand through Google assistant increasing your global sales customer growth and acquisition and even things like user re-engagement like the very important metric of daily active users and so the first pillar that we have is how you can leverage your existing content with Google assistant so like many of your companies s’more s’mores has a lot of existing content that’s ready for the assistant they have a website they have a podcast and of course they have recipes so that we can all understand how to make that perfect s’more at our next bonfire now also just like you they spend a great deal of time optimizing their site for search so we’re gonna talk about how they and of course how you can extend existing efforts and optimizations to the Google assistant now Google’s presented ways to optimize your content for search since the 90s we work hard to understand the content of a page but we also take explicit cues from developers who share details about their site via structured data structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a webpage and classifying that page content for example on a recipe page you can disambiguate the ingredients from the cooking time the temperature the calories and so on and because of this markup we can provide users with richer content on the search results page answers to questions and a whole lot more and this brings Google search beyond just 10 blue links and over the last year we’ve been hard at work to enhance the Google search experience and enable developers to extend their content from search to other Google properties like the assistant so for sites with content in popular areas like news podcasts and recipes we have structured data markup to make your content available in richer ways on search same optimizations that you make for search will also help your content people with discoverable and accessible on the assistant and it’s just standard RSS you’ve seen this before and that’s the approach we’ve always taken we’re using industry standards and insuring those optimizations are ready for search and the assistant to and I’m so excited now to announce two brand new programs that we’re adding how-to guides and fa Q’s so the additional optimizations that you make for search will soon yields a richer experience and an automatic extension to the assistant let’s dive into each so how-to guides enable developers to mark up their how-to content and make it discoverable to users on both search and the assistant what displays is then a step-by-step guide to the user on anything from how to change a flat tire to of course how to make that perfect some more so on the left here you can see a nice image based preview of the how-to content in some more some more site it allows the user to engage with your brand further upstream in their journey and it differentiates your results on the search results page and if you don’t have images don’t worry we have a text-based version of this feature as well now on the right you can see the full guided experience on a home hub device again all powered by the same markup on some more some more site now the best thing about creating a step-by-step guide is that you actually don’t have to be technical to do so now I know we’re at i/o and i/o is the Developers Conference but if you have one hour to dip your toes in the assistant pool and you don’t have a developer who can devote the time to adding the markup don’t worry we have ways for you to get your content onto the assistant even as simply as using a spreadsheet so now you can combine your existing YouTube how-to videos and a simple spreadsheet and actions console to get a guided how to experience across many assistent enabled devices so s’mores s’mores calm now has two ways for how they can get their step-by-step guides on how to make that perfect some more onto the assistance if they have a developer with some extra time they can add the markup or they can use a simple spreadsheet to extend their existing YouTube content now we’re gonna switch gears a little why to think about how times you turn to search for answers to questions maybe some of you are even doing it right now that’s okay maybe you’re trying to find out the return policy to your favorite store or if there’s a delivery fee for your favorite restaurant blackout dates for travel the list truly goes on and on while our epic use markup enables a rich answer experience on search giving users answers directly from your customer service page so the same optimization will then enable queries on the assistant to be answered by the mark-up you already did and it’s so easy to implement so when a user queries something like what’s more smores delivery fee on the assistant a Google will soon be able to render the answer from that same markup on your customer service page and here are some developers that have already gotten started with FAQ s and how-to guides and we’d love to have you join us tomorrow at 10:30 in the morning to learn more about how to enhance your search and assistance presence with structured data of course the talk will also be live streamed or you can catch it later on YouTube so as you’ve seen there are three main ways that s’mores s’mores calm and you can leverage existing content first you can ensure the hygiene of your structured data markup for podcasts news or recipe content you can add the new epic use markup to your customer service site or you can use a new template to bring your content to the Google assistant we’re so excited about the ways that we’re making it even easier for developers to extend existing content from search to the assistance but we’re also making it even easier for companies to engage their existing ecosystems like Android so let’s talk more about app actions all right thank you how about that Sun huh you enjoying the Sun in shoreline I can’t see anything without these so I’m gonna go with this so we’re my android developers again Android developers yes just like many of you the s’mores s’mores company has a popular Android app they want to make it as easy to order s’mores as it is to enjoy them but just like many of you they face the high cost of driving app installs coupled with the reality that users are you using fewer and fewer apps each year the sea of icons found on many users phones might be a contributing factor it’s hard for users to remember your icon much less find it what we need is a new way for users to find and launch your android apps one that’s focused more on what users are trying to do rather than what icon to click last year at i/o we gave a sneak peek at app actions a simple way for Android developers to connect their apps with the helpfulness of the assistant and with the Google assistant on nearly 1 billion Android phones app actions is a great way for you to reconnect with your users app actions uses Google’s natural language understanding technology so it’s easy for users to naturally invoke your application and finally app actions doesn’t just launch your app it launches deeply into your app so we fast forward users right to the good parts now to help you understand this concept let’s walk through an example of course using our s’more s’mores app let’s first take a look at how this looks the traditional way so first of course I find the s’more s’mores app in the sea of icons does anybody see it next I select the cracker okay that that makes sense and then I have to choose a marshmallow all right and then I get to pick the chocolate and the course a toast level okay I’ve got to say how many I want that’s important too and then finally I can review my order and confirm now that’s a long intent to fulfillment chain it’s a long way from I first had the desire for a warm delicious s’mores before I got it successfully ordered and that means there’s opportunities for drop-off all along the way now let’s take a look at what this looks like once s’more s’mores has enabled app actions first you’ll notice I get to naturally invoke the app with just my voice I can say order one milk chocolate from s’more s’mores and then immediately we jump right to the good part of this application confirming that order notice we got all the parameters correct and then we just confirm and we’re done we’re ordered it’s a short path from when I had the intent for the warm delicious more before I got it ordered but of course we didn’t build app actions just for stability s’mores we had a few partners that have already started to look at app actions so for example I can say to the assistant order a maple glazed donut from Dunkin Donuts of course I might need to work that off so I can say start a run on Nike Run Club and I might want to settle that bet from last night by saying send $50 to naomi on paypal so let’s take a look though at what enables this technology what’s going on under the covers here foundationally at Google we connect users that express some intent with third parties that can fulfill it and app actions is the mechanism that you as app developers can use to indicate what your Android app can do each app action each built in and it represents an atomic thing a user could want to do including all possible arguments for that so you just need to implement that built-in intent and I handle the arguments that we pass to you the cool thing about built-in intents is that they model all the different ways users might express an intent for example these are the ways users could say start an exercise notice as an app developer you don’t need to handle all of this


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