Yes, digital assistants have gotten way smarter over the past several years, but the fact they still require wake words — trigger phrases that let them know the user is about to say a command — makes them seem far more dated than they actually are.
Google, however, is fixing that. Back at its I/O developer conference in May, the company promised it'll bring a new feature called continued conversation to Google Home, Home Mini, and Home Max. It allows users to ask Assistant a question then add a follow-up, a reminder, or an item to a shopping list without having to say "OK Google" or "Hey Google" each time.
How Google Assistant's Continued Conversation Feature Works
Users previously had to mention those aforementioned phrases for each command, even relatively minor tasks. Now, that won't be necessary. Users can simply say "Hey Google" to check for today's weather, then ask for tomorrow's, then ask what the traffic looks like, then be reminded to get something along the commute — all in one sentence, using just one trigger phrase.
Just note that for now, the feature is only available in the United States, with no clear indication when it'll roll out to other countries. Google also has yet to clarify whether it supports languages other than English. But all the same, it's an important inflection point for the Assistant platform because it makes it feel more human-like. Plus, it makes conversations more seamless and uninterrupted.
Continued conversation works by keeping Assistant active eight seconds after an initial request, during which it listens for other follow-up commands. Google says the feature knows who's talking as well, so it won't follow commands from unauthorized users.
"The Assistant will be able to understand when you're talking to it versus someone else, and will respond accordingly. This feature has been one of our top requests and you'll be able to turn on Continued Conversation in the coming weeks," the company said in a blog post this past May.
How To Enable Continued Conversation On Google Home
Users can enable the feature by going to the Google Assistant app's Settings menu, hitting Preferences, and toggling on the Continued conversation option. It's now rolling out to Google Home users across the United States.
Thoughts on continued conversations? Do you think Amazon should follow Google's route and introduce a similar feature on Alexa? As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!