We’ve been building for the Google Assistant platform, creating experiences that users can access from devices such as phones and home hubs.
Last month, however, the Google Assistant team announced that they will ‘sunset’ Conversational Actions next year. This decision takes away the routes for brands to have standalone custom experiences on Google Assistant.
An announcement on their developer blog states:
“…WE’VE DECIDED TO FOCUS OUR EFFORTS ON MAKING APP ACTIONS WITH ANDROID THE BEST WAY FOR DEVELOPERS TO CREATE DEEPER, MORE MEANINGFUL VOICE-FORWARD EXPERIENCES. AS A RESULT, WE WILL TURN DOWN CONVERSATIONAL ACTIONS ONE YEAR FROM NOW, IN JUNE 2023.”
Google has affirmed their commitment to voice interfaces – just not through Conversational Actions. Instead, they want to focus on App Actions (exposing functionality of Android Apps through voice) and Content Actions (exposing website content through voice).
IF YOU’VE GOT CONVERSATIONAL ACTIONS IN PLAY
Today your live Conversational Action is unaffected – there will be no change of service just yet. But as of June 2023, Google Assistant will stop routing requests to these custom Conversational Actions, and they will stop functioning.
This means that you have eleven months to review your voice strategy and implement a transition over to App and Content Actions to continue benefiting from Google Assistant.
App Actions provide an interface directly into the features of your app – allowing users to access features and data within it frictionlessly, via voice. Strava have implemented this to allow their users to say ‘Start my run on Strava’ and be taken straight to recording their run in the app. Amazon have implemented this in their Android app: users saying ‘Buy headphones on Amazon’ will be taken directly into the app, searching for headphones.
Content Actions brings optimised content from your website directly into Google Assistant. Use cases for this range from troubleshooting and answering important user questions, to providing recipes and news updates.
At Vixen Labs, we are partnering with our clients to support them as they develop and grow their voice strategy, and prepare to transition their work with Google Assistant to App Actions and Content Actions.
DOES THIS HAVE ANY IMPACT ON AMAZON ALEXA?
Not at all! Amazon is doubling down on functionality for Alexa, and custom Alexa Skills continue to grow, including going to the moon. In fact, at the annual Alexa Live conference in July, they announced how they are making it easier for brands to leverage the functionalities of Alexa, and bring custom Alexa Skills into the daily routines of users’ lives.
WHAT TO DO NEXT…
If you want to explore voice interactions with your app via App Actions, talk about optimising your site for Content Actions and voice search, or want to discuss voice strategy more broadly, book a free 30-minute call with the Vixen Labs team to see how we might support you and your business.