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Actions are live!

Starting today, developers can now create Conversation Actions for Google Home. This opens up a new dimension for using Home and is the next (but not last) step in making it part of a ubiquitous experience.

Home is awesome so far... and Actions will make them even better!

I'm already working on a few things... let's talk about what you want to see hear!

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Lights, Camera, Actions!

I can't tell you how excited I am for this API, and I'm thrilled that +Wayne Piekarski will be the Developer Advocate for Actions as well.

Can't wait to see what we come up with!
The Google Assistant is a great way to ask questions and get things done using a conversational interface, and is currently available in the Google Home device and Pixel phones.

Starting in December, developers will be able to build actions for the Google Assistant, using API.AI and other tools. We have a sign up page where you can register for updates as they come out. Also, I will be the Developer Advocate for Assistant and IoT areas, so follow me on G+ and I'll be making more announcements soon!

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One Hour at Home

I couldn't wait for my Google Home delivery next week, so I stopped by my local Best Buy to get one.

Observations one hour in:
* Voice recognition is good.
* I'm surprised there isn't an audible cue when it is listening - just the visual one. (And since it is already on a shelf out of the way, I'll rarely see that.)
* Contextual questions aren't as good as I expected. (It told me the distance to the moon in miles, but when I said "How far is that in kilometers?" it couldn't answer.)
* It has streaming with Play Music, YouTube Music, Spotify, and Pandora. (Got that +Jake Weisz?) I haven't figured out how to have it play streams not from these services (that I can play in my browser with just a URL).
* The alarm is pathetically quiet.
* I'm going to get tired of saying "Ok, Google" and "Hey, Google" pretty quickly.
* I wonder if there are notifications it can give me unprompted.
* I already love the IFTTT integration - getting it to do some nicely funky things. {:

In short - it hasn't quite done what I want, but its awfully close, and I'm hopeful I can get it closer in short order.

(cc: +Yonatan Zunger, +E John Feig, +Lauren Weinstein)


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My Google Home is enroute

In the broad category of ubiquitous computing, I'll be continuing to post about it in this collection, but if you're interested in a broader conversation, I encourage you to join +Lauren Weinstein's community specifically about GHome.

I'm really really excited for this technology and can't wait to see where it goes.

I held off on Amazon's Alexia, since when it launched it was distinctly for playing music from Amazon - which is not my use case at all. I held off on Google's OnHub since it wasn't clear what its reason to exist was. But this... this I was waiting for for the past two Google I/Os.

And its on a FedEx truck heading towards me...

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IFTTT and Google Assistant

If you've never used IFTTT before, the neat part is that it is a set of pluggable channels that let you interface them together in ways that make sense. So once you activate the Google Assistant channel, you can have it do a wide range of things (like add to your Calendar or send email or turn the lights on).

And once Google Assistant is everywhere... well... you now have some simple programming to do anything.

I've only played with it a little, but I find the way the Assistant Channel allows you to enter a variety of commands with a variety of parameters... interesting. Our first clues at what the Actions for Google Assistant may look like and definitely a first attempt at helping us to think about how a UI needs to be more flexible than we've ever made them before.

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When personal and community collide

+JR Raphael points out one of the downsides of the new Google Home appliance that we feared would be there. Right now, the appliance is tied to a single Google account. This is understandable, but very very unfortunate. At a time when we're slowly acknowledging that our desktop and laptop machines are used by different people in a household, that our tablets and even our phones are used by multiple people (most notably kids), it is a shame that a device that is designed to be used by the entire household assumes that there is only one person in that household.

There is no privacy or demo mode (which even Glass had) for when company is over. There doesn't seem to be a way to turn it off when I'm not home (even tho Google Assistant knows when I'm not there). And while it does seem like you can tell it to change accounts, that doesn't sound like a quick and easy operation (otherwise I'd write an app to change to a generic account when I'm not there or when someone else is).

To be honest - I understand why this is difficult. +Yonatan Zunger has stated that it is a known problem, and something they're working on, and I know they don't want to have the same multi-person mess that Amazon apparently has. But it is disappointing to hear its not there out of the box, and Google is notoriously slow at updates like this that should be basic.

I'm still getting mine as soon as I can. I still can't wait for the API. I still have some great ideas for what to do with it, and I'm working towards getting those ready.

I still can't wait for it. It'll be awesome! But it sounds like we'll have to wait a bit until it is really awesome! I can't wait for that, either.

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All packed for I/O

I have my Glass, my matching shirts, matching t-shirts, matching hats, matching umbrella, and matching towels. I'm all set for Google I/O!

Most things I'll be saying for the next week or so will be in my I/O 2016 collection (, so if you're not following me there, you may want to think about doing so.

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3 Years

I'm pretty emotionally drained, but couldn't let 3 years of wearing Glass go by unnoted.

3 years...
3 years...
5 Photos - View album

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Super excited I got to talk to +Florence Ion​​ for this "Android Influencers" segment!
The other people she's interviewed are all personal heroes of mine, so it means a lot to be included and speak with her!
#android #technology #googleglass 

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Cardboard Tango

What can you do when you combine Tango sensors and a Cardboard display?

You can shake hands with the President of the United States.

This is big. It is combining two important technologies (cheap VR displays and the physical sensors of Tango) to create a different sort of Augmented Reality system. Perhaps more of a de-augmented reality, since it only presents things from the physical space that it wants to, or represents them in its own way.

This kinda illustrates, in my mind, the real power of Tango. It isn't a specific product - it is a new set of sensors that you'll be able to put into a range of hardware products to do a wealth of new things.

(h/t +Noble)
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