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Google enables third-party Assistant devices in Japan and the UK

The toolkit is now available in several more countries.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
December 21, 2017
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Engadget / Cherlynn Low

The Assistant SDK is the key to enabling Google's AI helper in third-party devices. It's a big deal, then, that it's now available in more corners of the world. Google has expanded the developer toolkit's support to several new countries, including Australia, Canada (both English and French), Germany, Japan and the UK. While Assistant-enabled devices have certainly been available in other countries, this makes it easier for hardware companies in those countries to get the ball rolling and cater to local audiences. On top of this, the SDK itself is becoming more powerful.

If a device is using the kit, you can now customize its location (either through its latitude and longitude or a street address) to get area-specific results. Also, there's a new Device Action feature that lets manufacturers outline the features their hardware supports using only the code needed to perform that action. If it's a thermostat, for instance, you can tell Assistant to change the temperature and expect your home to become warm and toasty.

These moves could be crucial if Google wants Assistant to take off. Now that Amazon's Alexa is available in many more countries than before, it potentially becomes the voice helper of choice -- if Google didn't expand the SDK, it risked losing hardware partners that couldn't even consider using Assistant before. And it's safe to say this is good news if you're immersed in the Google ecosystem and want Assistant in as many places as possible.

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