Google Assistant is the virtual assistant of Google, which is integrated into Android phones and smart speakers of the brand, as well as in others from other companies. It can also be downloaded for iPhone. This virtual assistant allows you to control smart devices, perform searches of information, play, mathematical operations or consult information of different types, among other functions.
In this review an analysis of the Google Assistant focused on mobile phones, whether Android or IOS, is made.
Next, we analyze how the Google Assistant interacts with the user and the user with it, either through the voice or the application's interface.
In relation to the interface, it differs from one Android system to another IOS, so separate analyzes are performed.
The Google Assistant opens by pressing and holding the Start 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, nearest restaurants, etc., as well as settings, Google Lens, which allows you to obtain information about objects through the rear camera, Voice Search, which allows you to perform actions through voice, keyboard, alternative method to voice search and Unlock more functions of the Assistant, which allows you to activate more functions of the assistant.
As for the settings, the menu is somewhat hidden, within notifications. From it you can configure personal data such as name, addresses, payment methods, routines, etc.
The interface, in general, is simple. It has no menu and gives quick access to search by voice or by 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 in which the last order given to the assistant is displayed, as well as related suggestions and a search button. Also, on the bottom, there are buttons of micro, to do a voice search, Explore functions, which allows you to add more actions, Open the keyboard, which is the alternative method to the microphone and Personal Notifications, where you can configure personal data such as name, addresses, payment methods, routines, etc., as well as access the settings. The settings menu allows you to configure personal, assistant, services and device data.
The interface, in general, is simple. It has no menu and gives quick access to search by voice or by keyboard. However, the menu of settings is somewhat hidden within Notifications.
In general, oral recognition is very good, with verbal orders being recognized most of the time. This doesn't mean that sometimes there is understood words or orders, or failed 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 answers provided for this one. This allows a more natural and fluid interaction between the device and the user.
Thanks to Voice Match, the device is able to recognize a user's voice, saving their voice profile on the device. This allows the Google Assistant provide personal information to the user, such as the calendar or contacts.
The response time is normal, and depends on the Internet connection speed since the information obtained and the processing of the orders are performed on external servers.
Finally, it should be noted that the good recognition of voice and verbal orders is determined by the quality of the mobile phone's microphone. How much the better the microphone, the better recognition of the voice and verbal orders there will be, reducing the amount of orders not properly understood.
This virtual assistant doesn't incorporate any accessibility option, which does not mean that it cannot be used normally by most 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 doesn't present any problem for people belonging to this group. Talkback and Voiceover screen readers interact correctly with this application, and since all the elements are well labeled, you can easily navigate through it. In addition, you can use the support technologies that are included in both Android and IOS, such as screen enlargement or color inversion, in addition of the aforementioned screen reader.
It should be noted that the activation of the microphone doesn't generate any kind of incompatibility or blocking of the screen reader.
People with auditory functional diversity
Also included in this group are those who have a speech problem, but who can hear perfectly. So, in this group they have including people who can't hear well, or can't speak well, or both. Therefore, these people require that the information provided by the Google Assistant can be displayed on the screen and / or there is an alternative method to voice to enter information.
The Google Assistant shows both the user's verbal order and the response provided in the form of text on the screen. This allows people who have hearing problems can use this virtual assistant without any problem. In addition, it has the possibility to execute the commands verbal by typing on an on-screen keyboard, so people who have a speech problem can handle the virtual assistant without any trouble.
In addition to all of the above, you can use your own accessibility aids that have Android and IOS operating systems, improving accessibility.
People with physical functional diversity
In principle, this virtual assistant can be used by people with mobility or physical problems with appropriate adaptations. They can be used the assistive technologies included in Android and Ios, which facilitate their handling by these users. In addition, you can activate continuous mode to don't be repeating "OK Google" continuously.
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 no reason why they cannot use it. Here the possibility of use is determined primarily by the ability of the individual to handle technological devices. Also, when using natural language, both to receive orders and to provide answers, it is easy to understand and handle by people with some kind of intellectual disability.
Older people can be affected by visual, hearing, physical problems and even memory loss. These problems don't influence when of using this virtual assistant because, as seen in previous sections, you can use the support technologies included in the operating systems or alternative methods of text input and output.
In addition to the above, the simplicity of the interface makes the application very easy and intuitive. To this we must add that natural language used in the interaction facilitates the handling of the application to this group.
The following section analyzes how satisfactory the user's interaction with the virtual assistant is. In addition, the utility is studied for different collective, 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 keyboard, and also to add some other functionality as well as to access personal data, routines, etc. The least positive of this interface is the settings menu, to which accessed from notifications This is very unintuitive, being more logical to be at the same level as the rest of the buttons.
Another interesting aspect is that the user's last verbal order is displayed on the virtual assistant's main screen, as well as the response provided. This is of great interest to those who have hearing problems.
The possibility of providing instructions by typing on the keyboard is of interest to people with speech problems. There's no difference between using the voice or using the writing to interact with the assistant.
Oral comprehension, on the other hand, is quite good. He usually recognizes verbal commands without difficulty, although this depends on the quality of the microphone with which the mobile device has. In addition, the use of natural language in interaction makes users feel more comfortable speaking with the virtual assistant.
On the other hand, the answers are correct as long as the Google Assistant understands the order. What happens sometimes is that the answer is too much 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 Internet connection conditions how is the speed of it.
Utility, advantages and disadvantages
The Google Assistant can bring 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 visually impaired person or perform mathematical calculations to a person who cannot handle a calculator.
- Entertainment. It is not a specific function for a collective, but it serves as a leisure tool and helps combat loneliness or monotony, which can be beneficial for the elderly or with reduced mobility.
- Home automation. Although it has not been analyzed in this review (see Google Nest Hub review), it's a very useful function, since it allows people with physical functional diversity control the house autonomously or that people with visual disabilities can handle devices that would otherwise be inaccessible In addition, for the elderly it can be very useful since it facilitates the handling of household devices.
- Routines This function allows you to concatenate several consecutive actions that are performed sequentially in the usual way. 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 programmatically time.
The Google Assistant is Google's virtual assistant, integrated into smart speakers and Android devices, and can be installed on IOS. It allows perform various tasks of information consultation, mathematical operations, multimedia playback, intelligent device control, etc.
On Android devices you can open most applications. This makes handling easier. However, in IOS they have only been able to open a couple of applications. This is why it is a very useful tool for people with reduced mobility or elderly people with little technological knowledge that use Android devices.
A very positive aspect is its simple interface, and in addition to receiving verbal commands, it can receive commands through the on-screen keyboard. Thank you to this, and to that both the orders and the information provided are shown on the screen, people with auditory functional diversity and / or problems in speech they 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 or physical functional diversity and eldery. These groups, well because otherwise they could not handle these devices, because they have difficulties in movement, 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 only with the voice and through natural language simplifies both management and access to technology.
The less positive aspect is given by the settings menu, which is not in a logical place. This menu should be in the main window of the application.
- Simple interface.
- There is an on-screen keyboard as an alternative input to the microphone.
- Available for Android and IOS.
- It could study how to open more applications in IOS.
- It could study the possibility of making the settings menu more visible.