Google's Plan to Make Assistant Actually Useful
Released last year,
Last month the company released an official SDK for Assistant, and today it's announcing a host of new built-in functionality, as well as new third-party integrations, that will improve how intelligent and capable Assistant can be.
Minor improvements include the ability to physically type inquiries to Google Assistant using your smartphone's keyboard if you're out in a public place and don't want to make a scene by talking to your device, improved language support including the addition of French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, and Korean, and Google transactions so purchases can be made all from within Assistant, including payment details.
Google Assistant on iPhone
Google's messaging platform Allo gave iPhone users a small taste of what Google Assistant could do, but now the company is bringing a dedicated Assistant app to
One of the biggest features Samsung touted for its Galaxy S8 smartphone was its smart image recognition capabilities using the company's Bixby AI. But the feature wasn't available for the device's launch, and it already looks outdated compared to Google's new Lens feature that gives Google Assistant the same image recognition capabilities, plus more advanced features.
You can point your smartphone's camera at a flower and it will tell you what type of plant it is, or point it at a restaurant to get instant reviews for the place. Google also demoed Lens being used to grab the username and password data from the back of a wireless router, and automatically connecting the device to it after extracting the important data. Very cool, and a little scary.
Google is also integrating Google Lens into Google Photos so if you've snapped a photo of a receipt, white board notes, a sticky note, or anything else you want to remember, it can extract the important details and data from those images for use in other apps.
Google Home Upgrades
The Google Home smart speaker is completely reliant on Assistant for all of its most advanced features, and Google will soon be upgrading it with new abilities like proactive notifications so you'll know if you have to leave home early to make a meeting on time due to traffic, or can take your time because of a flight delay. Google Home will also be getting hands-free calling, making it the ultimate speakerphone, plus entertainment upgrades including access to Spotify, Deezer, and Soundcloud soon.
iRobot Robovac Connectivity
Whirlpool Appliance Connectivity
Appliance maker Whirlpool announced today that it will be releasing over 20 new
Aside from granite countertops, it's a compelling reason to upgrade your kitchen, although older Whirlpool connected appliances from 2015 onward will also be upgraded with the new Google Home functionality.
GE Smart Appliance Connectivity
If you don't have Whirlpool appliances in your home, odds are most of them are branded GE-branded instead. And today the company announced its entire Wi-Fi connected appliance lineup, which includes dishwashers, stoves, laundry machines, fridges, and even water heaters, will now work with Google Assistant and Google Home .
Users will be able to pre-heat their ovens, turn off appliances, or get a status update on when their undies will be dry. The functionality is tied to Geneva, GE's own voice-powered assistant, which was actually developed as part of a collaboration with Amazon using Alexa technologies.