Connect with us

Moviewire

Google Assistant Action Blocks Explained & How To Set Them Up

The Action Blocks app puts Google Assistant commands at your fingertips. Adding frequent commands to the home screen is a novel idea, at least.

Google Assistant's Action Blocks app went live today, giving Android voice command users more options for assigning tasks. The app can be downloaded right now, for free, from the Google Play Store.

Action Blocks are strange on paper because they take the convenience of voice commands and simultaneously make them less and more convenient by assigning them to a button. The gist of the functionality is that you'll be able to input a command for your device's AI, and then save that input as an icon. The icon can then be positioned anywhere on the home screen. It's more convenient because it means you won't have to give a common command like "Hey Google, will we have a full moon tonight?" every single day. It's less convenient because unlocking the device, finding the icon, and tapping it will take more time than speaking a sentence. It's highly situational.

Related: How To Use Amazon Alexa To Check Coronavirus Symptoms, Find Information

Complicated logistics and efficiency debates aside, Action Blocks as an app is about as streamlined as possible. To get started, just download the app from the Play Store and open it. The on-screen prompts push you through the setup process within less than one minute. It's essentially just a matter of creating one sample block. The button to create an Action Block is literally the only option on the screen. Choosing it will prompt you to either type the desired command or speak it as you would using "Ok, Google" or "Hey, Google" to access Google Assistant in the traditional way. After inputting the command, there's a button to test the action, and if it's right, the next screen has you assign an image to the action. These images can be from the gallery or from a pool of stock options.

The inspiration for Action Blocks, according to Google, comes from a story about one of its software engineers designing a system to allow Google Assistant to be used by people with disabilities. Someone who wouldn't be capable of navigating into a smartphone's contact list, finding a contact, and placing the call – but who also couldn't speak the command to Google Assistant – might be able to associate an image with a command and tap it. To that end, Action Blocks will certainly be effective as that exact scenario functions in the app today. It's easy to imagine this being great for children as well, since "Ok Google, play 'Baby Shark' on YouTube" is a command that can be turned into a home screen button, complete with an image of a baby shark.

However, the close connection to Google Assistant means Action Blocks inherits all of its issues. The biggest and most obvious drawback is that it can't do multi-step processes, or handle delays. You can't, for instance, tell it to set a timer for 45 seconds, wait 15 seconds, and restart that timer. Google Assistant does have an impressive routines option, allowing users to use one trigger command ("Ok Google, Good Morning") and have it respond with a series of tasks (Turn on the kitchen light, Set the thermostat to 70, Play the Rocky theme song). This functionality is missing from Action Blocks, but it could and should arrive in the future.

More: Alexa And Siri Are Always Listening To You – Should You Be Worried?

Source: Google Play, Google Blog

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent

Movies1 month ago

The Little Mermaid is the Absolute Worst

In the wake of Frozen 2’s $1 billion haul, the debate rages on about who is the best Disney princess...

Movies2 months ago

The 30 Best Movie Trilogies of All Time

What makes a good trilogy? Well, for starters, you have to follow the same theme throughout the entire series —...

Pop Culture3 months ago

18 celebs that were on TV before becoming Movie Stars

Everyone knows that movie stars get more love than the actors on tv. Why is that? Perhaps there is truly...

Movies3 months ago

Best Female Leads in Horror Film History

From “Scream Queens” to “Final Girls” the female role has continued to evolve in the horror genre, no longer are...

Movies3 months ago

10 Overlooked Movies of the 2010s

The 2010s was a solid decade for cinema. Even with a rise of remakes, creators didn’t shy away from innovation....

TV3 months ago

10 Times Someone From Jackass Should’ve Died

As America entered the 21st Century, man reached an evolutionary peak once thought unattainable. With the invention of personal internet...

Movies3 months ago

Slow to Fast: All 9 Fast & Furious movies ranked from worst to best

Fast and furious. There are no two words that have meant so much in cinematic history. Love it, or hate...

Pop Culture3 months ago

10 Most Underrated Shows of the 2000’s

It’s a new decade in this 2020, which means we’ve said goodbye to so many shows, and we’re saying hello...

Movies3 months ago

20 Films That Will Have You Reaching For Tissues

Sincerely, how good does it feel after you weep uncontrollably? Is it wrong to find pleasure in undergoing melancholy from...

Movies3 months ago

10 worst movies with a Star-studded cast

Even the brightest stars cannot hope to lighten up the darkest nights. That goes to say that even if a...