How often do you use Google Assistant for an alarm or a timer, only to instantly second-guess yourself and mess up the command? Then you have to go back and erase the original one and do it over, all with somewhat awkward voice controls. Google's working on it, using some slick new technology that will make up for your lack of eloquence.
Google is applying its Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) system to the way people set timers and reminders. This will allow for more natural language processing, specifically making up for when you flub your command for the wrong day or time. It observes every word and the sentence as a whole, adding more contextual behavior to the way Assistant processes commands, and allowing you to correct a mistake without starting over.
The improved functionality is landing on smart speakers and screens in English in the US now, expanding to other languages and devices soon. Once that's done, the lessons learned from applying this tech will be used to make Assistant better for all kinds of interactions.
The BERT system can do more than analyze a single sentence. It can also improve ongoing conversations, remembering the topic of the conversation based on your recent interactions and what's being displayed on the screen.
The hope is that this will result in a more natural back-and-forth between Assistant and users — think the computer on Star Trek, which just knows what a crew member's talking about based on context. These improvements aren't ready for prime time just yet, but they should be rolling out sometime in the future.