At Google's I/O 2017 developers conference Wednesday, the search company dropped several major announcements about its smart Google Assistant voice program, including that it's coming to iPhones. Here's some of the biggest takeaways so far from Google:

  • Google will bring Assistant to iOS devices. Previously, the program was only available on Google's Home assistant and Android. The program will bring the same home assistant functionality to iPhones and other iOS devices, allowing users to ask questions and get information automatically. Users will also be able to type directions and questions directly into Assistant in situations where they don't want to directly talk into the phone.
  • However, the app is expected to come with some basic limitations on iOS, since Apple notably has its own Assistant competitor in Siri. Siri will still be the default voice assistant for iPhones, but having Assistant expand to another platform is still a net plus for Google.

    Google I/O Google I/O Photo: Fionna Agomuoh
  • You can now also make payments for items directly through Google Assistant. As with competitors like Amazon's Alexa smart assistant, you simply have to tell Assistant what you'd like to buy and Google will pull from your existing billing information to make the purchase. While purchases are now a standard feature for home assistants, the new addition also benefits from Assistant's ability to now identify individual users.
  • Both moves are a gambit from Google to keep Assistant in line with competitors like Amazon's Alexa. For Amazon, Alexa has been an effective way to expand its reach. The service is a central part of its Echo home assistants and at CES 2017, Alexa was a touted feature for a variety of devices and home appliances. While Google is a relative latecomer to the home assistant space, its existing reach and Android give Assistant a significant headstart.