Small Steps Toward Big Shifts

Google’s new voice command features for Assistant may seem small in the short-term, but to us they represent a continued push toward proactive assistance. Every new feature and capability that removes friction for the user allows them to navigate content and take care of tasks more easily. Even these capabilities (podcast search, note taking and photo sharing) represent an advancement in what voice was capable of executing previously and enables users to discovery and share content in a simple manner. Over time, these small advances will add up to something greater than the sum of their parts.

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Your Wish is Google’s (Voice) Command 

Three new voice command capabilities have been added to Google Assistant as of last week: sharing photos, searching for podcasts and taking notes. The Photo sharing feature allows users to search photos by asking the assistant for various details such as date or storage location via voice and then enabling them to share it out using a service they have connected. Podcast search works similarly, allowing users to request podcasts based on topics or other qualifiers and have Google find the suggest matching ones in return. Lastly, the note-taking capabilities allow users to link their preferred notes service in settings and then “be able to create and add new items to those lists directly through voice commands.” More on The Verge.

Amazon Lends an Ear to Doctors 

Amazon has launched a new transcription service specifically designed for the medical filed. The service, Amazon Transcribe Medical, is an upgrade to Amazon’s existing transcription services in that the technology is HIPAA compliance and includes “improved accuracy, specifically for medical and health terms.” Doctors can turn on and manage this service leveraging smart speakers which can be commanded to begin and end recording as needed. Voicebot reports that Amazon additionally recommends doctors to leverage Amazon Comprehend Medical, a separate service “capable of analyzing the text for patterns that match medical texts and marking potential diagnoses and treatment plans to the doctor.” More on Voicebot AI.

Gamers Go-To Gosu AI, a video game coaching assistant, has developed a desktop voice agent “that proactively offers strategy, tactics, and feedback to gamers as they play League of Legends.” Given the complex nature of the game, believes the voice agent feature will help provide more real-time assistance and improve player’s performance who may not be able to remember needed strategies during fast-paced gameplay. The creators view the assistant as a welcome, interactive alternative to YouTube videos or length online guides.  More on

Stats Don’t Lie

53% – Voice search users who report using the technology at least once a week. (data via The Manifest)

54% – Smart speaker owners reporting that they ever say “please” when speaking to their device. (data via Pew Research)

Chart of the Week

How Different Generations Use Voice Technology
(data via The Manifest)