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

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

Invocation types

There are two types of app invocation:

  • Explicit Invocation occurs when users tell the Assistant that they explicitly want to use your app. You have the most control over how your users explicitly invoke your app, but you need to let your users know what phrases start a conversation with your app. The Ask Your Assistant section on your app'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 knows to invoke your app 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 action invocation phrase), and the Assistant opts to invoke your app for that task because it can fulfill the user's intent. Implicit invocation enables users to learn about and use your app simply by going about their day, but your app needs to be designed with our best practices in mind to improve the chances that it's discovered.

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

Action Invocation Phrase

An action invocation phrase describes a specific function of your app. When users invoke your app, they may include an invocation phrase that can invoke one of your app's actions. This invocation deep links directly into a portion of your app's functionality.

Examples of action 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 action invocation phrase to the end of an explicit invocation or use them on their own for an implicit invocation. Either way, make sure to design action invocation phrases to be useful and specific to your app's purpose. An action invocation phrase that is too generic to be useful is unhelpful to the user and detrimental for your app's visibility and discovery.

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

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

Learn more about Action links on the publishing guide.