TL;DR – This summer you’ll be able to ask Assistant to do significantly more things in 3rd party apps on your phone, the developers of said apps will most likely not bother to document more than a couple of the commands.
If you’re a big Google Assistant user who uses your voice to control devices like air conditioners, security systems, etc, this will not come as much of a shock, but developers generally do a piss poor job of letting you know what Alexa or Google Home commands you can actually use. Oh they’ll add them, but forget documenting how to use.
Now people are about to learn that lesson with Google Assistant’s on-phone integration into third party apps. While this was originally announced back in October, it’s seriously rolling out this Summer, seriously this time guys. There still is no central list of voice commands, so you’re probably going to get one or two from an app and not know how to ask for different things, which is what the experience has been so far in the hardware IoT world.
An example they list on the Google Blog is “Hey Google, pay my Capital One bill” which will be all fine and dandy until you’re wanting to pay from a different account, or maybe check the balance, how’re you going to ask to check the balance on a different Capital One card? Can you freeze the card? Where are we going to see a list of commands.
These are things that third party developers are going to have to start documenting, not just slapping a “Works with Google Assistant” and “Works with Alexa” sticker on their products and apps. As a note, for once I’m not picking on Google.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually on board with the tighter integration, although I do worry that without excessive prompting there will be massive mistakes made in the apps. I am just really at the end of being enamored of voice controlling never-documented things and Google hasn’t specified that developers need to document what the voice features are, which will make people annoyed with Google rather than the credit card company when you end up accidentally telling the company you can’t pay your bill because you bought an elephant when you were trying to pay a second credit card.[Google Blog #4]