The Google Assistant SDK - new languages, API updates, and Device Actions

DEC 20, 2017
Posted by Glen Shires, Google Assistant SDK Tech Lead

The Google Assistant SDK lets developers like you embed the Google Assistant into any device with a microphone and speaker. Since we first introduced the SDK, you've created innovative projects and delightful applications with Voice Kits. Your fun side projects and practical applications have captivated our imagination, and we'll continue working with companies—big and small—to develop and launch new products to extend the availability of the Google Assistant.

To help you take your products to the next level, today we're happy to introduce several new features to the Google Assistant SDK.

Additional languages and locales

Supporting users globally is important for the Google Assistant and as of the latest release you can now programmatically configure the API, or configure your device within the Assistant app, to use any of the following languages/locales: English (Australia, Canada, UK, US), French (Canada, France), German, and Japanese.

Customizable device settings

Many aspects of the Google Assistant can be customized by end-users in the Settings screen within the Assistant on their phone. SDK-based devices are not only discoverable within this experience, but they also support the same level of customization, including changing the device's language, location, nickname, and enabling personalized results -- for example, "Ok Google, what's on my calendar?"

In terms of location, SDK-based devices can now be configured as a street address in the Google Assistant on your phone, or as a latitude and longitude via the API. With this ability, SDK-based devices can return more location-specific answers to queries such as "Ok Google, where's the nearest coffee shop?" or "Ok Google, what's today's weather?"

Text-based queries and responses

Voice-in and voice-out was a natural first step for the Google Assistant SDK, but we have heard from many developers that other input and output mechanisms are needed. Today we're happy to announce that the Google Assistant SDK now supports text-based queries and responses. Both of these updates build upon the already-supported voice query and voice response API.

Device Actions

When we first launched the Google Assistant SDK one of the most prominent questions we received was "how can I ask the Assistant to control my device?" With the latest SDK, you can utilize the new Device Action functionality to build Actions directly into your Assistant-enabled SDK devices.

When you register a device you can now specify what traits the device itself supports – on/off or temperature setting, for example. When users then ask the device, "Ok Google, set the temperature to 78 degrees," the Google Assistant will turn such queries into structured intents via cloud-based automated speech recognition (ASR) and natural language understanding (NLU). All you need to provide is the client-side code for actually fulfilling the Device Action itself – no other code is needed. The SDK supports a set of device traits that are supported by Smart Home.

Device management

To help get you up and running with Device Actions, we are launching a new management API to help you register and manage your SDK devices. With this API you are able to easily register, unregister, and see all devices that you have registered. We're also introducing a device model which represents a set of devices with the same type and traits.

Get started with all this new functionality, by checking out the documentation and samples.

If you're interested in building a commercial product with the Google Assistant, we encourage you to reach out and contact us.

As always, there are great conversations happening within StackOverflow, as well as the Assistant SDK and communities. We encourage everyone to take part!