Google Assistant is an AI software that is built into the core of the Google Pixel smartphone. One of the reasons that Google have decided to build its own phones is to have full control over the hardware components and to be able to optimize the software to the hardware and support its advanced functionality - one of them is, of course, Google Assistant.
Google Pixel and Pixel XL are the two first phones in the world that come with Google Assistant built-in. The idea behind Google Assistant is to have your own personal virtual adviser that can listen and respond to your queries. It can create alarms, search for information, brings up translations, send messages, turn the kitchen lights off (when connected to smart home using Google Home), reads contextual information from all your devices (e.g. your watch, phone, car, etc.) and much more. Assistant learn over time to improve the relevancy of the results it provides. It can learn and collect behavioral paradigms from a wide variety of applications, but at the same time, it gives you the control of choosing which information you want to share with it.
Google Assistant brings relevant information thanks to Google knowledge graph. It analyzes information that you provide him or one that already appears on the screen and aggregates and analyzes contextual information to provide you with a relevant and useful information, and it does that even with natural sentence structure and natural human voice.
It also learning from past results. So for example, if you ask Google Assistant to bring up a specific song and its knows that you love listening to that song on YouTube, it will bring up the song on YouTube rather than on a standard music player. If you text message a friend using Google Allo, Google Assistant can analyze that text and provide you with a single card with access to relevant information, all the information is beautifully displayed under a single card which is easy to read and lead to that relevant information that Google Assistant has decided that you might find useful.
Google certainly showing its strength on the software side, and we can expect its holding to become much more prominent versus Apple due to these very advanced technologies, which obviously takes the time to develop and Google has the right architecture and knowledge to improve and support it over time. I think that mobile device's hardware have become to a point where there isn't a lot of innovation, and most of the innovation will actually happen on the software side, rather than the hardware. This is where Google can show its strength and can sell more of its devices which are optimized for those experiences and provide Apple with an even greater competition. I wonder what Apple has down its sleeves because Siri seems way inferior to Google Assistant at the moment.