Google Cast was rebranded back in October, and now it’s getting a new set of contributors, too. A couple months after being renamed Google Home, the company’s digital assistant (the firm’s answer to, say, Amazon’s Alexa), is opening its doors to developers. That’s right — on Thursday, Google debuted its Actions on Google website for developers.
“The Google Assistant brings together all of the technology and smarts we’ve been building for years, from the Knowledge Graph to Natural Language Processing,” Google said in their Thursday blog post announcement. However, the company continued, true success would be contingent on the ability “to connect users across the apps and services in their lives. This makes enabling an ecosystem where developers can bring diverse and unique services to users through the Google Assistant really important.”
That’s why Google now allows developers to build Conversation Actions for Google Home. And eager developers can also ask to become early access partners for upcoming platform features.
Unlike Amazon Alexa skills, Google’s Conversation Actions promise to let developers engage their users by way of an actual conversation. There’s no need to enable a skill or install any further software — simply say, “OK Google,” and proceed with the command.
“Today is just the start, and we’re excited to see what you build for the Google Assistant,” Google concluded. “We’ll continue to add more platform capabilities over time, including the ability to make your integrations available across the various Assistant surfaces like Pixel phones and Google Allo. We’ll also enable support for purchases and bookings as well as deeper Assistant integrations across verticals.”
Of course, as we mentioned before, it’s important to note that the concept of “casting” isn’t going away. While the Google Cast app has been rebranded, you’ll still use the casting technology to beam information to a device like the Chromecast or a home speaker. For example, you might find that a TV will be “cast-compatible.”
The new blog post, however, certainly signifies a step in Google’s journey toward making the app a real hub for the smart home, perhaps by incorporating other devices that may not be Home-compatible, like smart light bulbs, and by including home automation. In fact, it would be great to see a Google-built alternative to apps like Yonomi, which automates smart home devices.