Google Assistant Gains IFTTT Support, Something Siri Will Never Add (and why that’s a problem)

Google’s new evolution of Google Now, Google Assistant, is getting some love from the tech press and most other nerdy folks online. Marcques Brownlee made this excellent comparison video showing Siri mostly keeping up with Google Assistant, but overall people seem to agree that Google has the lead in personal voice assistants.

Beyond just having great voice detection and quite a bit of power, Google took their assistant further today by launching IFTTT integration. This essentially gives developers a way to tap into their services through Google Assistant without writing a line of code in Android. Here’s a sample of the most popular recipes today:

These are all compelling features, and again, are happening entirely in the cloud. When I say “OK Google, tell my friends I just ate a delicious cheeseburger,” that will post “I just ate a delicious cheeseburger” to Facebook. That’s a natural way to say this command, and it’s just one of many additions you can add to your Assistant.

But what’s especially nice about these IFTTT integrations is that you don’t need to have any of these apps installed on any particular device for them to work. It’s not a big deal when you only interact with your assistant on your phone, but what about when it’s in your watch, in your tablet, in your desktop, and in your \<del>Weeble\</del> home speaker? Using the Siri template in iOS 10, I would need to have Facebook on each of those devices (and signed into my own account). A cloud-based solution takes away that burden and enables me to know that no matter what one of my devices I ask to do something, it will do the same thing.

Hardware and local apps are still very important, but it’s things like this that are hinting towards a more seamless future, and it’s built on cloud-based services. I know Apple can do this if they want, but I’m a little worried Tim Cook doesn’t think this is the way forward.