Google Assistant integrates with more smart devices, adds features

Updates announced at CES 2020 introduce more complex use cases for consumers along with a suggestion button, scheduled actions, and sticky notes.

CES 2020: The trends and tech business pros should care about Enterprise technologies like AI, data analytics, and 5G underpin the latest IoT gadgets, smart devices, and autonomous vehicles and will be on full display at CES 2020.

On Tuesday at CES 2020, Google announced updates to its artificially intelligent (AI) Google Assistant

The voice-activated digital assistant can tell consumers more than just the weather; Consumers will be able to schedule Google Assistant to turn devices on and off, connect itself to smart devices, take notes, and translate content, according to the press release.

First released in 2016, Google Assistant was the Alphabet company's first step in its AI strategy. Similar to other virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa or Apple's Siri, Google Assistant was able to book restaurant reservations for users or respond to informational questions posed by the user. The updates featured at CES, however, boost Google Assistant to a new level. 

Smart device integration  

One of the new features is the suggestion button. When users first set up a new smart device through the manufacturer's app, they will receive a notification on their Android phone and see a suggestion button when they open the Google Home app. 

This button allows users to easily connect the device with Google Assistant in just a few taps, without re-entering account credentials, according to the release. 

Another new feature is called Scheduled Actions, which will come out later this year. Users can ask the Assistant to turn on/off or start/stop compatible smart devices at specific times of their choosing. 

For example, a user can say, "Hey Google, run the coffee maker at 6 a.m." Within the Google Home app, users can also control more than 20 new devices including air purifiers, AC units, vacuums, bathtubs, and more, according to the release.

SEE: CES 2020: The big trends for business (ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature)

Throughout the year, more smart devices will be compatible with Google Assistant such as August Smart Locks, Telus Wi-Fi Hub routers, GE Appliances Ultrafresh Front Load Washer, MOEN shower, D-Link Outdoor Wi-Fi Spotlight camera, Viaroom Hub, Somfy TaHoma Hub, Tado AC control, Yeelight Staria Bedside Lamp Pro and MerossSmart's garage door opener, as stated in the release.

Google Assistant is also being integrated into more devices, including Samsung's new Smart TVs, launching in 2020. The assistant will also be built into select cars with Android Automotive OS and all cars with Android Auto compatibility, the release added. 

Smart notes

To help business professionals keep track of tasks and households stay organized, Google Assistant can now create digital sticky notes via one's Smart Display. Users don't even need a Google Account to create or view notes on their Assistant-equipped device, according to the release. 

The release provided the following example: As a user heads out the door in the morning, they can say "Hey Google, Leave a note that says I already fed Max breakfast," letting the rest of the household know that the bet has been fed. 

Users can also place important contacts on speed dial. Anyone in your home can quickly and easily make a call on a speaker or Smart Display.

For example, if someone in the house wants to call the neighbor Sarah, all someone has to say is "Hey Google, call Sarah," or tap Sarah's name onto the Smart Display's household contact list. 

Both features will be available later this year, according to the release.

Advanced speech tech

A feature being previewed at CES is Google Assistant's advancement in language understanding and speech. 

Google Assistant has been upgraded to have a more natural sounding, expressive voice. This update makes listening to long-form content more enjoyable, according to the release. 

From an Android device, users can just say "Hey Google, read it" or "Hey Google, read this page." Google Assistant is able to translate the content into 42 different languages, as stated in the release.

By partnering with Volara and Sonifi, Google Assistant's interpreter mode, which was launched over the past year, can be brought to more hotels, airports, sports stadiums, and retailers. 

Two new Google Assistant voice actions are also being announced at CES. One is "Hey Google, that wasn't for you," which lets users tell the Assistant to delete or forget what it heard of an unintended activation happens. 

Users can also ask "Hey Google, are you saving my audio data," to learn about how their voices are being used and what their privacy controls look like, according to the release.

For more, check out New Chromebooks from Samsung, Asus, Lenovo on display at CES 2020 on TechRepublic. 

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Image: Google