Google has come up with a very useful new feature just in time for the holidays. Google Assistant’s new flight delay predictions will alert you if it believes your flight will be delayed. The feature is rolling out now and will be available to all users in the next few weeks.
Flight delay predictions will be a useful feature
This is not a completely new feature. Google has already been offering flight delay predictions, but only if you searched via Google Flights. However, the new update will allow you to actually ask Google Assistant directly if your flight is on time.
Google explained in a blog post: “You can ask things like, ‘Hey Google, is my flight on time?’ or, ‘Hey Google, what’s the status of the American Airlines flight from Philadelphia to Denver?’
Moreover, the company says that over the next few weeks, Google Assistant will start to “proactively” provide flight delay predictions on users’ phones.
Google uses machine learning and historical flight status data to come up with the predictions. According to the search giant, its predictions have an 85% confidence rate, an increase of 5% over a year. The search giant will also give the reason for the potential delay, like technical problems or severe weather.
Google Assistant’s new flight delay predictions are different from other services because they are merely predictions rather than actual flight delay notifications. To put it simply, Google predicts delays even before airlines announce them.
Many other services also push out flight notifications. For example, Apple sends a notification to users who have a digital boarding pass in their Wallet. Airlines also update passengers via emails, texts or calls.
Google Assistant’s flight delay predictions are a small but crucial addition similar to alerts informing you that a bill is due soon. They also help Google stay ahead of rivals which don’t offer such a high level of integration between their mobile apps and AI.
Other trip planning tools
In addition to the flight delay predictions, Google has also improved other trip planning tools to help you enjoy the holidays to the fullest. Google Maps will now suggest places to visit in the Explore tab. Additionally, when you type “things to do” into Google, you will get “popular experiences” in and around you, like sporting events or hiking.
When you book a flight, Google will now inform you about local holidays and school breaks. This information will help you avoid a rush to popular places. For example, a school holiday could mean more foot traffic at Disney World.
Earlier this year, Google started displaying services and amenities not included with budget tickets from United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta and other major airlines. Building on that feature, the search giant will now show the fares which offer a free carry-on bag. For domestic flights in the U.S., you can also filter results based on checked bag fees.
Google Assistant gets other new features
In addition to the flight delay predictions, the search giant has added several other new features to Google Assistant. Late last month, Google Assistant received the ability to reward users for using words like “please” and “thank you.” This new optional feature is called Pretty Please, and according to the company, it will “reinforce polite behavior.”
Thus, when using words like “please” or “thank you” in a conversation, Google Assistant will offer praise. In other words, Google Assistant will respond in a similar manner. For instance, if you ask, “Hey Google, please call contact A,” then Assistant will respond, “Thanks for asking so nicely…”
This feature is enabled by default for users who registered their devices using the app. According to Google, it will work on both smart speakers and smart displays. It could prove a useful feature for parents who are worried about their children’s bad manners. Amazon added a similar feature which rewards children when they are polite to Alexa.
Google Assistant also received a visual lyrics feature to help you sing along with songs. Google Play Music users will now see lyrics synchronized with a song when played through Google Assistant. To access the feature, all you need to say is, “Hey Google, play ‘Song Name’ on Google Play Music.”