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Google Assistant is getting a bunch of new features in 2020


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Google Assistant is getting a bunch of new features in 2020

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(Image credit: Shutterstock)

 

For the last couple of years, Google has been using CES as a platform to announce new Assistant features and this year was no different. With no new hardware to show off the focus was instead on Google Assistant, with the list of new features coming this year looking quite impressive.

 

Since its debut in 2016, Google Assistant has built a pretty good repertoire of uses – it's no longer just a voice assistant that tells you what the weather is like. And, in 2020, it will do way more than turn your lights on and off.

 

To make it simple for you, we've broken it all down into an easy list so you can check for updates in the next few months.

 

Quicker, easier smart home setup: When setting up a new smart device through the gadget's companion app, you usually need to enter your Google credentials to connect it to your Home setup. A new update will remove that step, instead showing a notification or "suggestion button" which will easily complete the setup without the need to reenter your login details.

Setting up scheduled actions: You can't get Google Assistant to wake you up with the kettle already boiling or the coffee machine already buzzing. However, at some point this year you will be able to say "Hey Google, run the coffee machine at 6am" the previous night. With Scheduled Actions you will be able to set up run time of a compatible device at a time of your choosing.

 

More smart home devices: If you thought there weren't enough Google Assistant-enabled devices already, many more brands are getting on board, including August Smart Locks, Philips Hue, GE and much more. You'll also be able to control 20 more new devices through the Google Home app, including air conditioners, air purifiers, coffee makers and much more.

 

Leaving notes: If you find that you're leaving Post-it notes for your family members around the house for them to find, Google Assistant will take over that chore for you. Some time in 2020, Assistant will be able to create a sticky note on any compatible smart display that will be visible to anyone in the house without needing to sign into a Google account. They can even be created without the need for a Google account.

 

Speed dial: Later this year, you'll be able to add important contacts to a "speed dial" list so that anyone in the home can make calls quickly and easily using compatible smart displays or speakers. All they need to say is "Hey Google, call [name]" and off they go.

 

Reading online content: While Assistant can be set up to read your texts out to you, reading long-form content is a skill it is still to acquire. However, that's about to change in 2020, with Google announcing that Android users will be able to say "Hey Google, read this page" to get Assistant to read out a full webpage. In fact, Google promises that Assistant will even be intelligent enough to recognize that page elements like social sharing buttons are to be left out.

 

Deleting Assistant history: Google wants you to know that your privacy is important. This year, a simple command like "Hey Google, delete everything I said to you this week" will clear user history. Any accidental triggers – like when Assistant wakes up because of something said on the TV – can now be deleted as well by saying "Hey Google, that wasn't for you".

 

Android TV support: This year, starting with some Hisense and TCL tellies, some TV models will be getting far-field mic support so you can use your smart TV exactly like you would a smart speaker or display. In fact, this year you'll also be able to buy Samsung smart TVs with Google Assistant built-in.

 

 

Source: Google Assistant is getting a bunch of new features in 2020 (TechRadar)

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[ This article's text adds little new, but its images and videos help demonstrate some of the new features ]

Google announces sticky notes, webpage reading, and more for Assistant

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With CES 2020 getting underway today, Google has announced a bunch of new features coming to its digital helper, Assistant. The additions are particularly aimed at making Assistant more user-friendly while maintaining its practical nature.

 

In December, Google began rolling out the new Interpreter mode that works as a real-time translation feature for devices. This was initially brought to Android and iOS devices, with plans of compatibility to be introduced with Smart Displays and smart speakers sometime later. Now, the firm has unveiled that its Interpreter for Assistant will also be expanded to hotels, airports, stadiums, and the like as well. This expansion comes as a product of Google's new partnership with systems integrators Volara and SONIFI.

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Moving on, a Scheduled Actions feature is being introduced to improve Assistant's support with compatible smart devices. Essentially, this enables users to start such devices, or stop them from running, at a specific time of their choosing. With this announcement, Google has also assured customers that support for more smart devices, such as August Smart Locks, Philips Hue HDMI Sync Box, and more will also be arriving in 2020. Scheduled Actions will be coming this year, though a specific timeframe has not been unveiled at this time.

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With regards to helping Assistant create a more unified experience for families, sticky notes that can be created and displayed in one central location on Smart Displays are being brought later this year as well. Notably, family members other than the creator will be able to view the posted digital notes without having to sign in. Along with this, important contacts will also be importable to household contacts, making it easy for any family member to utilize quick dialing through Smart Displays.

 

 

Google is also looking to improve its usage of speech technology through Assistant, and to advance this purpose, it has announced a new Read It feature. This will enable Assistant to read out webpages upon user request. Although screen reading certainly isn't anything new, the advancement the Mountain View giant has aimed to make in this regard is to make the reading voice sound more "expressive" and "natural-sounding". The feature will allow for translation into 42 languages for the targeted content. Auto-scrolling and text-highlighting capabilities to accompany this experience are planned to be introduced at some point as well.

 

 

A couple of new privacy controls for Assistant have been revealed as well. The first of these is a rather interesting "Hey Google, that wasn't for you," command to disallow the storing of any perceived communication with Assistant in case of its accidental activation. The other new privacy command is "Hey Google, are you saving my audio data?", which is a way for users to find out more about how private their conversations with Assistant are, as well as to make changes to their privacy settings by visiting the relevant screen directly.

 

Lastly, Google plans to bring Assistant support to plenty more devices this year, including Samsung's upcoming voice-powered smart TVs, cars with Android Auto compatibility, and more. To make it easier for TV companies to incorporate far-field mics with their devices, Android TV has been updated as well. As stated by the firm, this is just a "first peek" at all the changes that will be coming this year.

 

 

Source: Google announces sticky notes, webpage reading, and more for Assistant  (Neowin)

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