(Credit: Google/Alphabet)

Google's search engine has long been known for its near-psychic ability to detect what you're looking for, and the company continues to beef up the AI smarts of its equally formidable Google Assistant.

On this latter front, the company has just announced a "visual snapshot" update for the Assistant that gathers your day into one handy summary; things like dinner reservations, commute traffic alerts, Amazon packages, and bill payments are now summarized as though you had a flesh-and-blood assistant following you around, only cheaper.

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To access the new feature on Android, just open the Assistant app and tap on the inbox icon in the upper right. For the iOS version, your daily agenda will appear as soon as you open the app.

How does Google know about all this stuff?

The Assistant's ability to pull in all of this info is dependent on how much you use Google Maps, Gmail, Google Search, and the company's other tools throughout your day. If you get package alerts from Amazon sent to your Gmail inbox, Google's machine learning can scan these messages and spit the important info out to the Assistant. Same with bill payments and restaurant reservations.

If you use Google Maps a lot to get around, it can pick up on where you live and where you work. That's how it sets up commute alerts. Google Maps has also been expanding to cover places to eat and shop, so frequently using it for those destinations can also help the Assistant give you relevant information.

How helpful is the Google Assistant summary?

Ideally, the Assistant app's visual snapshot gets created without your having to manually enter much personal info, which can be tedious and requires periodic updating. You just open the app in the morning before you head off the work, and it can tell you things like the weather outside, traffic issues along your commute route, and updates for upcoming meetings that you might have missed.

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Then instead of poring over your email, navigating a weather app, and checking traffic yourself, you can scan the Google Assistant summary in less than a minute and just get on with the rest of your day. An "it just works" aura of magic combines with personalized assistance that's hard for other AI like Siri to compete with.

That gives you more time to read the news, make breakfast, and of course trade cat pics with friends and family. It won't replace a real-life assistant, but it's a heck of a lot cheaper, and it's available 24/7. Whether you like it or not, the Google Assistant never sleeps...

The takeaways

  1. Google has updated its Google Assistant app with a "visual snapshot" of your day, summarizing your agenda of meetings, reminders, reservations, and travel plans in one handy place.
  2. On Android, access this summary by opening the Assistant app and tapping on the inbox icon in the upper right. For the iOS version, your daily agenda will appear as soon as you open the app.

Also see

Tom is the senior editor covering Windows at Download.com.