In an effort to woo developers to build features for Google Assistant, the search giant's virtual personal assistant offering that competes with Amazon Alexa, Google this week announced a number of new functionality that is available or will be coming to its Google Assistant platform.
In addition to new features aimed at helping users find apps, Google unveiled a speaker to phone transfer API that lets developers create experiences that can begin with Google Assistant on voice-activated speaker devices like Google Home and then are transferred to a user's phone. An updated AskForSignin API gives developers the ability to prompt users to link their apps to a Google account at the time of their choosing instead of at the beginning of an interaction, which had previously been required. And a new SSML audio design experience helps developers "more options for creating natural, quality dialog."
Perhaps the most enticing new Google Assistant platform update is a push notification API, currently in developer preview, that developers can use to deliver asynchronous updates to users. Initially, these updates will be delivered as system notifications to users' phones, but later they will also create notifications on voice-activated speakers.
Push notifications have proven to be a valuable tool for mobile app developers as they seek to create intelligent, engaging experiences that address retention challenges. Since retention is likely to be a challenge for developers in the burgenoning market for virtual personal assistant apps as well, Google's new push notification API could be critical to convincing developers that they have the tools necessary to build successful apps for Google Assistant.