The Nokia 1 Android Go phone

As part of its MWC 2019 announcements, Google has revealed an expansion for Actions on Google. The Google Assistant developer tool, which lets third parties create applications that can be controlled by voice commands via Assistant, will soon expand to cover the tens of millions of smartphones in 100 countries that use Android Go as well as KaiOS.

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This means companies can start creating Assistant apps and commands with Actions on Google and have them work on cheaper smartphones as well as feature phones, most of which are sold in developing markets such as India. Some companies are already developing on the platform for these markets. One example is a business called Hello English, which has created an Action that creates English lessons for Hindi speakers. Another such Action is Where is My Train? (WIMT) which reveals real-time locations and times for trains in India. The expansion to Android Go and KaiOS phones will officially take place sometime in the next few months. Google says voice commands on these cheaper phones will be part of the effort to reach the next billion internet users who live in developing countries like India, Indonesia, Brazil, and Mexico.

Google also gave a status update on the last year for the Actions on Google platform. It stated that developers can now create Actions in 19 languages across 28 locales. Google has also added more text-to-speech voice options for Actions and has also added more natural sounding voices for TTS, including new voices in English (en-US, en-GB and en-AU), Dutch, French (fr-FR and fr-CA), German, Italian, Russian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Japanese, Korean, Polish, Danish and Swedish. They will begin rolling out to Actions in the coming weeks.

Read more: Google Assistant guide: Make the most of your virtual assistant

In 2017, Actions on Google started supporting transactions, meaning you could order anything from your next lunch to your next smart TV with Actions. Google stated that support for transactions via Actions has now expanded to 22 markets worldwide.

Anyone can create an Action with special templates. These Actions are currently limited to making trivia games or personality quizzes, but by using the template, anyone can make an Action with these types of games within minutes. They are available in English, (en-US and en-UK), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Hindi and Indonesian.

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