Google Assistant gets additional subcategories, ‘trending’ and ‘new’ sections, daily updates and more

Today, a refreshed look that we previously activated is also coming to the Explore tab, along with a number of other changes to improve both Assistant app discovery and functionality. Developers will also have a few new tools at their disposal to build Assistant apps. A set of new features to make it easier for users to find, interact, and re-engage with your app.

The Assistant menu will now have better discovery features. The “what’s new” and “what’s trending” sections will surface Assistant apps you might not know about.

We’re adding what’s new and what’s trending sections in the app directory within the Assistant experience on your phone. These dynamic sections will constantly change and evolve, creating more opportunities for your app to be discovered by users in all supported locales where the Google Assistant and Actions on Google are available.

Meanwhile, Explore’s search feature is adding autocomplete and new subcategories. For instance, “Food & Drink” is now broken down into subcategories like “Order Food” and “View a Menu.” Improving app discovery, apps will appear in “all relevant subcategories depending on its various capabilities.”

Google will use app descriptions and sample invocations “to map users’ natural search queries to the new task-based subcategories.” Apps that are deemed family-friendly will also have a special badge to make them stand out.

Developers can take advantage of several new options today, including speaker to phone transfer. This API lets Assistant apps start an interaction on Home or another speaker, then transfer seamlessly to a phone.

Google is also giving developers a chance to play around with a few new features that will roll out to all users in a few weeks—that includes daily updates, push notifications, and directory analytics.

Assistant apps will soon be able to remember select information and user preferences. Other capabilities include the ability to send users a reply after they say cancel, as well as better-timed prompts (not just at the beginning) to ask users to link their account.

The last changes expands the Daily updates feature that we previously covered to get day-to-today reminders on weather or quotes . Third-party experiences will soon add a suggestion chip so that users can sign-up for daily updates.

A new push notification API, enabling your app to push asynchronous updates to users. For the day trader who’s looking for the best time to sell stock options, or the frugal shopper waiting for the big sale to buy a new pair of shoes, these alerts will show up as system notifications on the phone. Apps are also gaining the ability to say farewell when you say “Cancel.”

Meanwhile, Google Assistant apps are drastically expanding international support — on top of this morning’s Canadian English launch — by allowing developers to build apps in Spanish (US, MX and ES), Italian, Portuguese (BR), and English (IN). Additionally, UK developers can now build apps with transactions.

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