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Google Assistant Gets More Features Greater Reach

By Neha Negi

Posted On Jan 14, 2019



Google this week debuted a slew of new capabilities for its artificial intelligence software, Google Assistant, at CES in Las Vegas. One of the headliners was a preview of Google Assistant Connect. The new platform lets device manufacturers incorporate Google Assistant into their products easily and cost-effectively. Connect uses Google's existing smart home platform to expand to new device types, while making device setup and discovery easy for consumers. A manufacturer could create a continuous e-ink display projecting weather or calendar information, for example, while using Connect to drive content from a linked smart speaker. "The key here is making device setup and discovery easy for consumers," observed Jack Narcotta, senior industry analyst for smart home strategies at Strategy Analytics. "Addressing the frustration that still often accompanies smart home device setup and use -- especially during that all-important initial setup -- is a big step for any company seeking to expand its footprint into the smart home," he told TechNewsWorld. Google also announced new plans for Assistant: • Building Google Assistant into the Sonos One and Sonos Beam speakers so users can control their sound entertainment from anywhere in the home without needing their smartphone. Earlier models of Sonos speakers will be updated to work with Google Assistant; • Expanding Assistant later this year to work with other popular media and entertainment devices, including Samsung TVs. This will let users use voice commands to turn the TV on, change volume and channels, and switch within inputs; • Having Google Assistant built into Dish's Hopper family of receivers. This will let consumers use their Dish Voice Remote to search for content, check the weather, or control other connected devices in the home; • Including Google Assistant in Android TV. Sony, Hisense, Philips, Xiaomi, Haier and JVC are among the Google partners that have launched and showcased such Android TV devices. Several will have far field microphones that will let them pick up the user's voice even with noise in the room or on the TV; and • Expanding Google Assistant's ability to respond to users even when their Android phones are locked if they opt in to this feature. They also will be able to set up and dismiss alarms, schedule reminders and timers, and view answers to personal queries such as traffic and calendar updates. This feature is currently available on Pixels and will be rolled out to all Android devices in the next few weeks.