Google on Tuesday debuted an updated version of its Google Assistant platform
during the keynote of its Google I/O developers conference. The company said it is internally calling this the "next-generation" Assistant and that it will first become available on Google's "new Pixel phones" later this year. Google is touting significant performance improvements with the updated Assistant, claiming that it can process and understand voice requests "in real time" and deliver results "up to 10 times faster" than its current iteration. The company says this is primarily due to it condensing the AI models used to interpret speech down to a half a gigabyte, which is small enough for them to process directly on a smartphone instead of requiring remote servers. A user will seemingly be able to open apps, set timers, reply to texts, activate the flashlight, browse Google Photos, get a car from a ride-sharing service like Lyft, and do other typical Google Assistant things with minimal wait time or the need to say "Hey Google!" at any point in between. Another demo showcased the Assistant's ability to compose and send emails entirely through voice commands. This includes knowing when to delineate between a greeting and the first sentence of the email and when a user is asking to title the subject line. Interestingly, feedback for these commands appears to be relegated to the bottom right corner of a phone's status bar, where the "recent apps" button was traditionally placed on Android phones.