Chatbots (I): Build an app to talk to your phone without coding

A posts series about chatbots starts today with a direction but without a clear destination.

Today we are going to see a really easy way to create an app that allows you (writing like in a chat or speaking) talk to your phone without coding, without a single line of code!

[En castellano]

A lot of you already would had used Google Assistant. It is the “Siri” from Google which you could access on Android phones saying “Ok, Google”.

Nowadays it also works on iOS phones, on Google Home, on smartwatches, on cars, on TVs, …

By the way, Google (attending the developer community program I spoke about two months ago) mailed me about they are gifting me a Google Home thanks an app I built following this method, using only a few hours. Do you want do the same?

When you access the actions console (“actions” is the name given to Google Assistant apps) you can add a new project and Google gives you some options. You can code everything using its API, you can use an advanced platform in which you can code but it gives you a lot of work done (it is named DialogFlow), or you can use templates Google provides.

As you see in the above image, there are 3 different templates:

  1. Trivia. This template allows you create a quiz. You can provide different answers and synonyms for this answers also for each question. It is ready to load contents in English, French, German and Japanese.
  2. Personality Quiz. This template is ready to create personality quizzes. For instance, you can create a quiz like the one used by Cambridge Analytics (the company that had problems with Facebook’s privacy) to get data about millions of Americans and to affect USA elections. For the time being, you can only use this to create English content.
  3. Flash Cards. This is a template that for the moment only allows you create English content. It drives you to build a teaching game to learn about things.

The first step (but with the second that doesn’t allow this option) you have to choose the kind of personality. It means that you are choosing a voice from a woman, a man or a robot. Your election is also affecting to accent, expressions and sound effects that your application is going to use.

It is really important that you copy the Google Sheets template in the second step, the one about content. If you build your sheet from a clear one, it is difficult to achieve all restrictions checked by validations coming.

Using the template you are allowed to change whatever you want to adapt it to your content, but it is really important that in the second sheet (that is ready to set different configuration params) you change the title of your application, in order to avoid conflicts with other apps created before.

Whenever you are done following this wizard (the form that takes you throw a step by step process, for the ones that are not inside the apps design and development world), you only have to follow the Overview one to set how your apps are going to be called, set descriptions, icons, etc. etc.

Done this, you are ready to send your draft to the validation process and whenever it was approved your users will be able to say to their phones “Talk to…” and magic will start.

Autor: Javi López

Arquitecto/desarrollador, creativo, buscador de nuevas soluciones y modelos de negocio, crítico constructivo y ex muchas cosas

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