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Google Assistant can tell apps to order food or track your run

You'll also get better support for smart displays and smart home devices.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
May 7, 2019
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Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Google Assistant's Actions are about to become decidedly more useful in daily life. Google has expanded App Actions' reach to offer shortcuts for health, finance, food and ridesharing. You could tell your fitness app to start tracking a run, pay a friend for last night's dinner or order your favorite tacos without having to wade through their respective apps first.

You'll also find a number of Actions upgrades aimed at the smart home. A preview lets device makers run their smart home code locally on Google's Home speakers and Nest displays, helping gadgets both respond sooner and more reliably. Another preview will provide "full-screen experiences" that mix audiovisual and touch. Google's simple smart home setup is expanding to more partners, too.

Some of these improvements may take a while. While the smart display tech is available for building games today, the local smart home functionality won't be available to all developers until June. There are plenty of partners lined up, at least. Philips, LIFX, TP-Link and Wemo have already been testing the local device support, so there's a good chance that your lighting and other connected devices will respond that much quicker in the near future.

Catch up on all the latest news from Google IO 2019 here!

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