Generate TTS Using Your Terminal

It’s not a new hack but it will work well if you have short texts (1-3 sentences) that you wish to convert to speech.

After all, when returning a response to the Google Assistant, you can use a subset of the Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML).


Because you can make your agent’s responses seem more life-like experience.


Open your terminal and try something like this:

curl "" -o aog-rock-hack.mp3

That’s it.

If you want to use SSML and get fancy, it’s also support it in the request: Continue reading


Hey Google, Talk to Coffee Trivia Game

During the holidays, I had a bit of time to do some fun stuff with Actions on Google.

It started with an idea that a runner friend brought up during a long run and the results is “OK Google, Talk to Western State Race“. If you are an ultra trail runner, you are smiling now, right?

Later, it was around another passion – good coffee. I used the templates for Google Assistant to create a fun trivia game. It’s super easy, as you only need to copy a google sheet and update it with your questions and answers.

You can check the result by clicking here (on mobile) or just say something like “OK Google, Talk to Coffee Trivia Game”. Continue reading

Business, life

Books I Enjoyed During 2017

This year was full with good books.

I got to some books by mistake (e.g. Girl with a pearl earring during a trip to Zion national park) and others after getting a warm recommendation. Here is the list of the ones that I like most. There were at least ~12 other books that I didn’t like and stopped in the middle, but I guess, it’s part of life.

One of the best papers I read this year (again) was “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”. The paper is quite short (only 8 pages without the references) but every word there counts and it’s giving a total picture of this powerful invention. It’s much bigger than ‘just’ cash system and in the future we will see this technology breakthrough changing many industries.

OK, let’s jump to the books. Continue reading


How To Create A Shortcut In Google Assistant?

When you are using the google assistant for common task on daily basis it’s great to make a shortcut so with one word you can invoke a long ‘command’. One of the first shortcuts I have created is ‘bitcoin’ which is translated to “OK google, talk to bitcoin info about the price”. Let’s see below how you can easily work with the shortcuts inside the Google Assistant. See in the short video below how to create it and use it.


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Get Users to Your App For The Google Assistant


Did you know that your app for the Google Assistant can reach users on millions of devices? Over 100 million devices (and many more in the future) already have the Google Assistant with them so when users wish to use your app, you are already there. There is no friction. In this post we will focus on the methods you can use in order to reach users.

There are 4 ways for users to get to your app for the Google Assistant through:

  1. Explicit triggering
  2. Implicit Triggering
  3. The Google Assistant Directory
  4. The Assistant Directory link

Let’s go a bit deeper into each one. Continue reading


Voice User Interface Design

We are all experts at human-to-human conversation. But conversing only seems easy because it’s familiar, you’ve been doing it since you were born.  The key to building a good voice interface is to not fall into the trap of simply converting a GUI into a VUI.

In the slides below, I will cover the best practices to design our Action on Google (and any other Voice UI).

You can also see the top tips in the short video below. Continue reading

Business, life

Where The Best Ideas Win

I’ve just finish to read one of the best books for this year: Principles: Life and Work

It’s a a long book but very well organized. You get a good background on Ray Dalio and how he arrived to where he is today. I knew him for the past 10 years, but I was amazed to learn that he was broke in the early 80′. In a classic american dream story, he was able to build one of the largest (and maybe, best) hedge funds in the world that these days managed over $150B.

Things I liked:

  • He is giving good explanations to each principal and how he got to it. There are many cases where he is driving his points with a real life example, which is helpful. In a way, you can think on this book as a recipe book for life and business. Ray doesn’t want you to follow blindly after this principals but to get you to think on them and come up with a set of principal that is based on your idea, experience and life lessons.
  • He provides the reader with a strategy and a roadmap to better thinking and dealing with problems and challenges.
  • He also giving tools and methodologies to accomplish goals you think are important base on your values.
  • After over 40 years in the stock market, he learned that in order to be so successful you need to be an independent thinker (because the consensus is baked into the price of assets) and you need to be more right than wrong. So the ability to learn from your mistakes and to keep improving is critical.
  • In the last part of the book, he is talking about business and how to build a group or organization that will be transparent, self improving and able to bubble up with the best ideas. It sounds easy, but from the past 20 years, I know how hard it is to accomplish.

Continue reading