Overview (Dialogflow)

In order for users to engage with your Action, they need to invoke it. In many cases users will have your specific Action in mind, so they ask the Google Assistant to interface with it. Additionally, as long as you design your Action to accomplish specific, helpful tasks, the Assistant may recommend it to users when it's the best available Action for their query.

The following sections explain the different types of invocation and describe how best to design your Action with discovery in mind.

Invocation types

There are two types of Action invocation:

  • Explicit Invocation occurs when users tell the Assistant that they explicitly want to use your Action. You have the most control over how your users explicitly invoke your Action, but you need to let your users know what phrases start a conversation with your Action. The Ask Your Assistant section on your Action's directory listing is a good place to relay this information to users.

    Example: "Hey Google, talk to Wayne's Bikes."

  • Implicit Invocation occurs when the Assistant chooses to invoke your Action without users calling it by name. The most common example of an implicit invocation is when users tell the Assistant they want to accomplish a certain task (by stating an invocation phrase), and the Assistant opts to invoke your Action for that task because it can fulfill the user's intent. Implicit invocation enables users to learn about and use your Action simply by going about their day, but designing your Action with our best practices in mind improves the chances that it's discovered.

    Example: "Hey Google, book an appointment to fix my bike."

Invocation Phrases

An invocation phrase describes a specific function of your Action. When users invoke your Action, they may include an invocation phrase that can deep link into one of your Action's specific functions.

Examples of invocation phrases include:

  • "what should I wear today"
  • "when's the next bus to $location"
  • "what's the current price of gold"
  • "want to meditate"

Users can append an invocation phrase to the end of an explicit invocation or them on their own for an implicit invocation. Either way, make sure to design useful invocation phrases that are specific to your Action's purpose. Invocation phrases that are too generic aren't helpful to the user and reduce your Action's visibility and discovery.

For more information about invocation, discovery, and invocation phrases, read explicit and implicit invocation.

In addition to invocation using the Assistant, you can also enable an Assistant link for any of your Actions. Users who click on this link in a web or mobile browser are directed to the Google Assistant, where they'll start a conversation with that specific Action.