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Deploying your Assistant app changes to your local Google Home device

A client asked me recently how to deploy their Dialogflow app changes to their local Google Home device.

I have found the process to be quite straight forward, but I just want to document it here as a sort of checklist. Its also possible I just got lucky with my deployment. 🙂

With that caveat, here is the checklist.

1 Make sure your Home device’s Google account is the same as the one you are using for Dialogflow

This should be quite obvious, as there isn’t any other reasonable way to deploy your Dialogflow agent’s code to your local device in a secure way.

2 Make sure your agent has a Default Welcome Intent

Under Integrations > Google Assistant, you will see the following popup:

The Default Welcome Intent has to be set. You don’t have to use the original Default Welcome Intent which gets automatically created when you create a new agent. But you do have to set one of your intents as your Default Welcome intent.

3 Don’t leave the text response of the Default Welcome Intent blank

The text response of the Default Welcome Intent cannot be empty. When you say “OK Google, talk to my test app” it will effectively respond with the text response in that intent. If you call a webhook, make sure you still have some kind of fallback response defined explicitly in the Text Response section.

4 Understand versioning

So in Integrations > Google Assistant Integration Settings, you will see the following message in the popup.

Frankly, it seems a bit vague (and you are tempted to ignore it), but you actually need to understand what is going on with that message. Clicking on the Learn more takes you to the following message:

This makes a lot more sense. As you deploy your app to alpha/beta/production, Dialogflow takes a snapshot. Obviously you need to be able to make safe edits to your agent while your code is live, and Dialogflow does this by using snapshots.

5 Click on See How It Works on the right pane

You are now ready to test your app inside the Actions on Google Simulator.

Click on the link which says “See How it Works in Google Assistant”, which you can see on the right pane below the Dialogflow simulator.

You should now be able to interact with your agent inside the Actions on Google simulator

6 Make your changes

I added some small verbiage to the answer inside the text response.

Notice that I have added the words “for FIFA 2018” in the response.

I deployed my changes using the “See how it works in Google Assistant”. The red box is to indicate that the snapshot is actually the same time as when I clicked on “See how it works”

However, the actual output hasn’t changed. It is still showing the old verbiage.

7 Remember to click on Change Version

Now if you notice, there is a link to “Change Version” right next to the red box I have highlighted.

Clicking on the Change Version link shows the following popup window:

You will see that the version is not selected (grayed out). Now I don’t know exactly what that implies, but you can click on that dropdown list and you will be able to select the version. I have only one choice at the moment, but I expect that if I were to deploy my app to Alpha/Beta testing etc I should see more options.

8 Test your app again in the Actions simulator

Now you are ready to test your app again. You can now see the additional verbiage.

9 Test your app on your local device

Once it works correctly in the Actions simulator, now you can invoke your agent on your local device. I verified it on my Google Home as well as my Android’s Assistant app (both of which are tied to my Google account) and verified that it worked. (Sorry, no videos).

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