"OK Google" or how it's know by the guys at Google; Google Assistant, is by far the coolest toy I have had the chance to play with, and, it just got a whole bunch cooler!
I have just come out of a two day intensive workshop about Google Assistant. If you, like me, have already done other courses and workshops at Google you know that they are usually very fast paced and very helpful.
Benjamin Dorvel is the guy behind Google Assistant's personality. The jokes, the quirky answers like "42" when you ask it "the meaning of life" and the general human feel of "bot" are all his and his team's responsibility.
James Giangola is a legend in the world of Voice Interface Design. The guy wrote the book on it! Actually this book which is already in my Amazon Wishlist (just in case you have a sudden urge to buy me a book).
Day 1 - The concepts
We got a brief introduction into the world of Conversation Design, key concepts like Personas, user identification, personality and brand cohesion. Most of the things were obvious, but, like obvious things, they tend to hide in plain sight until people point them out to you.
After a morning of theory, we got our hands dirty by creating a simple yet, extremely enlightening design for a fictitious brand, applying everything we saw during the morning. Split up into groups, we designed a target user, a persona for our bot, and a simple simulated conversation. Benjamin and James were constantly coming by to give us valuable insights into the potential pitfalls and possible solutions.
Each group finally presented their work to everyone, where we debated everything, from the personality traits of the bot Personas, down to each possible outcome of the conversation.
At the end of the day, we came out with so much information, so many examples of "Dos and Don'ts" that it was mind blowing.
Day 2 - Getting dirty
The second day of the workshop was when we really got to the nitty gritty technical aspects of the day. After a quick introduction to the tools, we hand a chance to review the concept project we were about to create, adding the valuable insights we learned the day before, and build a couple of sample conversations using a real world project.
The crowd at google (I am sorry... I was so overwhelmed with the tech I truly forgot to exchange contacts with all of you) was incredible. The people at the workshop, even though we were all in our little groups working on our things, all exchanged experiences, ideas and helped each other debug our conversations.
At the end of the day, we all walked out with an incommensurable amount of knowledge, functional Google Assistant apps, and, at least from my perspective, so many ideas and plans that I am almost going mad.
I'd like to thank Google for this experience, and, I hope to start a series that can help people who were not fortunate enough to have participated, some of the insights that I had during the workshop.
I'll keep you all posted.
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