Third-party developers are welcome on all of Google’s key consumer platforms, including Android and ChromeOS. For Assistant, Google is changing its strategy to concentrate on Android and will essentially no longer let third-party speech experiences, including apps and games with visual interactions on Smart Displays or speakers.

Conversational Actions will be discontinued in June 2023, Google said today. It was introduced in 2016 as the initial method for third-party developers to interface with Assistant. It is activated by Hey Google, talk to ‘x service’. Prior to today, Google advertised it as follows:

Create rich, organic dialogues
Create unique voice and visual experiences for smart devices including speakers, screens, and phones.

FIRST CLASS: ASSISTANT ANDROID As customers want to interact with their favorite apps using voice technology and developers want to build on their existing investments in Android, Google is eliminating Conversational Actions in order to concentrate on App Actions with Android as of 2019.

Instead of building a completely unique experience from scratch that was device agnostic, the current strategy is to simply have developers add voice control capabilities to their existing Android apps. All in all, this complicated development at a time when many businesses were experimenting with the new voice-based engagement method.

These Assistant experiences work on watches (Wear OS), televisions (Google/Android TV), and cars (Android Auto/Automotive), so this Android focus extends beyond just smartphones and tablets. Recent updates include opening a Play Store listing if the required application isn’t installed and directing consumers to apps even when inquiries don’t specify an app name. A different illustration is the appearance of App Actions (shortcuts) in Pixel Launcher search.

Google Assistant voice apps
Google Assistant voice apps
Google Assistant voice apps

VOICE ASSISTANT APPS, not so much The smart displays and speakers with Assistant, where you were most likely to employ Conversation Actions—also known as Google Actions—were left out of this new push, though. However, there was not much use of pure voice programs on those two form factors.

The elimination of games for smart displays will have a little greater effect. Conversation Actions launched Interactive Canvas so developers could create applications with both touch and voice interaction to adapt to the Nest Hubs screen. People who used Smart Displays as family gadgets would feel the loss of trivia games and picture books the hardest, but Google assured us that it is still primarily focused on use cases for kids.

In its announcement today, Google promised to keep funding all of the popular Assistant features that consumers adore, including Timers, Media, Home Automation, Communications, and others. Media (music, video, etc.) experiences and third-party smart home integrations remain unaffected.

Google concluded on the following note: “Existing Conversational Actions developers are directed to this page awaiting further specifics.”

In the future, we see a platform that is voice-forward, easy, and allows developers to take advantage of the whole Android ecosystem of devices to quickly expand their user base. We constantly seek to enhance the Assistant experience, and we believe that using App Actions is the greatest strategy for doing so. We appreciate everything you’ve done over the past five years to develop the Google Assistant ecosystem, and we’re here to guide you through the changes as we work to make it even better. Were eager to develop it together and glad for what lies ahead.

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