Google Assistant is Google's virtual assistant, which is integrated into Android mobiles and the brand's smart speakers, as well as others from other companies. It can also be downloaded for iPhone. This virtual assistant allows you to control smart devices, search for information, play games, mathematical operations or consult information of different types, among other functions.
This review makes an analysis of the Google Assistant focused on mobiles, whether Android or IOS.
Next, it is analyzed how the Google Assistant interacts with the user and the user with it, either through voice or the application interface.
In relation to the interface, it differs from one Android system to another IOS, so separate analyzes are carried out.
The Google Assistant opens by pressing and holding the Home key. When opened, a window with possible voice commands is displayed. At the bottom of the window there are several buttons: Notifications, which gives access to the calendar, reminders, closest restaurants, etc., as well as the settings, Google Lens, which allows information on objects to be obtained through the rear camera, Voice search, which allows you to perform actions through voice, Keyboard, alternative method to voice search and Unlock more Assistant functions, which allows you to activate more assistant functions.
As for the settings, the menu is somewhat hidden, within notifications. From it you can configure personal data such as name, addresses, means of payment, routines, etc.
The interface, in general, is simple. It has no menu and gives quick access to search by voice or keyboard.
To be able to use the Google Assistant in IOS, the first thing is to download the application of the same name. Once downloaded and opened, a very simple interface is displayed in which the last order given to the wizard is displayed, as well as related suggestions and a search button. Also, at the bottom, there are the Micro buttons, to do a voice search, Explore functions, which allows adding more actions, Open the keyboard, which is the alternative method to the microphone, and Personal notifications, where data can be configured personal information such as name, addresses, means of payment, routines, etc., as well as accessing the settings. The settings menu allows you to configure personal data, assistant, services and devices.
The interface, in general, is simple. It has no menu and gives quick access to search by voice or keyboard. However, the Settings menu is somewhat hidden within Notifications.
In general, oral recognition is very good, with verbal commands being recognized most of the time. This does not mean that sometimes you have not understood words or commands, or have not been able to give an answer to them.
The Google Assistant uses natural language, both in the language used by the user for verbal commands and in the responses provided by the user. This allows for a more natural and fluid interaction between the device and the user.
Thanks to Voice Match, the device is able to recognize the voice of a user, saving their voice profile on the device. This allows the Google Assistant to provide personal information to the user, such as the calendar or contacts.
The response time is normal, and depends on the speed of the Internet connection since the information obtained and the processing of the orders is carried out on external servers.
Finally, it should be noted that the good recognition of voice and verbal commands is determined by the quality of the mobile phone. The better the microphone, the better recognition of voice and verbal commands there will be, reducing the number of misunderstood commands.
This virtual assistant does not incorporate any accessibility option, which does not mean that it cannot be used normally by most of the groups included here. Below is a small comment on how accessible the application is for different disability groups.
People with visual functional diversity
The application does not present any problem for people belonging to this group. Talkback and Voiceover screen readers interact well with this application, and since all elements are well labeled, it can be easily navigated. In addition, you can use the support technologies that are included in both Android and IOS, such as the enlargement of the screen or the inversion of colors, in addition to the already mentioned screen reader.
It should be noted that the activation of the microphone does not generate any type of incompatibility or blockage of the screen reader.
People with hearing functional diversity
Also included in this group are those people who have a speech problem, but who can hear perfectly. Thus, this group includes people who either cannot hear well, or cannot speak well, or both. Therefore, these people require that the information provided by the Google Assistant can be displayed on the screen and / or that there is an alternative method to voice to enter information.
The Google Assistant displays both the user's verbal command and the response provided as text on the screen. This allows people with hearing problems to use this virtual assistant without any problem. In addition, it has the possibility of executing verbal commands by typing on an on-screen keyboard, so that people who have a speech problem can handle the virtual assistant without any difficulty.
In addition to all of the above, you can use the own accessibility aids that the Android and IOS operating systems have, thus improving accessibility.
People with physical functional diversity
In principle, this virtual assistant can be used by people with mobility or physical problems with the appropriate adaptations. You can use the assistive technologies included in Android and Ios, which facilitate their handling by these users. In addition, the continuous mode can be activated so as not to be continuously repeating "OK Google".
In IOS the application can be opened using Siri, in such a way that it is not necessary to physically interact with the device.
People with intellectual or mental functional diversity
As in the previous cases, there is no adaptation for this group, although this is not a reason for them not to use it. Here the possibility of use is fundamentally determined by the individual's ability to handle technological devices. In addition, by using natural language, both to receive commands and to provide responses, it is easy to understand and handle by people with some type of intellectual disability.
Older people can be affected by visual, hearing, physical problems, and even memory loss. These problems do not influence when using this virtual assistant because, as seen in previous sections, the assistive technologies included in the operating systems or alternative text input and output methods can be used.
In addition to the above, the simplicity of the interface makes the application very easy and intuitive. To this must be added that the natural language used in the interaction facilitates the handling of the application to this group.
The following is an analysis of how satisfactory the user interaction with the virtual assistant is. In addition, the usefulness for different groups is studied, seeing the advantages and disadvantages that it presents.
The first thing that stands out is the user interface for its simplicity. It has a few buttons to activate the microphone or the keyboard, and also to add some other functionality as well as to access personal data, routines, etc. The least positive thing about this interface is the settings menu, which is accessed from the notifications. This is very unintuitive, being more logical that it was placed at the same level as the rest of the buttons.
Another interesting aspect is that the last verbal command of the user is displayed on the main screen of the virtual assistant, as well as the answer provided. This is of great interest to those with hearing problems.
The ability to provide instructions by typing is of interest to people with speech problems. There is no difference between using your voice or using your writing to interact with the assistant.
Oral comprehension, meanwhile, is quite good. It usually recognizes verbal commands without difficulty, although this depends on the quality of the microphone that the mobile device has. In addition, the use of natural language in the interaction makes users feel more comfortable speaking with the virtual assistant.
For its part, the answers are correct as long as the Google Assistant understands the command. What happens sometimes is that the answer is too short, providing the minimum information.
As for the response time, it is usually adequate. Sometimes the response may take a while, but this is due to conditions of the Internet connection such as its speed.
Usefulness, advantages and disadvantages
The Google Assistant can provide different benefits to different groups as explained below:
- Easy to use. It allows you to easily perform tasks that would otherwise be more complex, such as consulting the meaning of a word to a person with visual impairment or performing mathematical calculations for a person who cannot handle a calculator.
- Entertainment. It is not a specific function for a group, but it serves as a leisure tool and helps to combat loneliness or monotony, which can be beneficial for the elderly or people with reduced mobility.
- Home automation. Although it has not been analyzed in this review (see Google Nest Hub review), it is a very useful function, since it allows people with physical functional diversity to control the house independently or that people with visual disabilities can handle devices than otherwise form would be inaccessible. In addition, for older people it can be very useful since it facilitates the handling of household devices.
- Routines. This function allows you to concatenate several actions in a row that are performed sequentially on a regular basis. It is not a specific function for a group, but it can be of great interest since it simplifies the performance of these activities with a single voice command or by programming time.
The Google Assistant is Google's virtual assistant, built into smart speakers and Android devices, and can be installed on IOS. It allows you to perform various tasks of consulting information, mathematical operations, multimedia playback, control of smart devices, etc.
On Android devices you can open most applications. This makes it easier to handle. However, in IOS only a couple of applications could be opened. This is why it is a very useful tool for people with reduced mobility or elderly people with little technological knowledge who use Android devices.
A very positive aspect is its simple interface, and that in addition to receiving verbal commands it can receive commands through the on-screen keyboard. Thanks to this, since both the orders and the information provided are displayed on the screen, people with hearing disabilities and / or speech problems can use the assistant normally.
The possibility of handling smart devices, although it has not been analyzed here because it is included in the Google Nest Hub review, is something very useful, especially for people with visual and physical functional diversity or the elderly. These groups, either because they would not be able to handle these devices otherwise, or because they have difficulties in moving, are the most benefited from this functionality.
To all the above we must add the ease of use, since being able to perform many actions with just the voice and through natural language simplifies both the handling and the access to the technology.
The least positive aspect is given by the settings menu, which is not in a logical place. This menu should be in the main application window.
- Simple interface.
- There is an on-screen keyboard as an alternative input to the microphone.
- Available for Android and IOS.
- You could study how to open more applications in IOS.
- The possibility of making the settings menu more visible could be studied.