Google Assistant's new Capabilities let users jump straight into action

As expected, Google revealed a lot of new things that users' can look forward to on Android's various forms as well as Google's myriad services. One platform that binds many of those together is Google Assistant whose smartness still needs a bit of work here and there. For I/O 2021, Google is introducing new ways for developers to harness those smarts and enable users to jump right into the content or section of an app they need without saying much.

One of the problems with voice-activated smart assistants is that you sometimes have to be verbose just to get the information or action you need. Google introduced various features like App Shortcuts to ease that burden and it is expanding Google Assistant's literal capabilities to make the process even shorter.

App Actions, for example, let developers integrate Google Assistant into their apps so that users can simply say a short phrase rather than tap repeatedly on their screen. The new Capabilities API even lets users jump into an app's specific section or trigger even when they're not inside the app. You can, for example, instantly post something on social media without even opening up Twitter or Snapchat.

That new API also opens up a world of widgets that enable one-shot answers and interactions even on a phone's lock screen. These widgets will be perfect for driving-optimized interactions on Android Auto in the future.

Google is also improving the discoverability of App Shortcuts that let users define their own commands for convenience. Not only will app-specific shortcuts appear in the Assistant Shortcuts gallery, developers can also start suggesting shortcuts in specific app screens so that users can immediately create a shortcut for that section right then and there.