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'Google Assistant' Articles

Google Planning to Launch Echo Show-Like Smart Speaker With Touch Screen Later This Year

Google entered the smart speaker market in 2016 with the introduction of Google Home, allowing users to speak to Google Assistant and control various smart home products, listen to music, get the news, and more. Eventually, Google added the Home Mini and Home Max to the lineup, introducing products that were direct competitors to the Amazon Echo Dot and Apple HomePod, respectively. Looking forward, the next Google Home will be a smart speaker equipped with a touch display that should arrive in time for the holiday shopping season, according to sources speaking to Nikkei Asian Review. This means that the new device "is likely to be similar to the Amazon Echo Show," which includes a display so users can do things like watch videos, view photos, and hold video calls. The Lenovo Smart Display with Google Assistant (left) and Amazon Echo Show (right) Google's plan for the upcoming device is described as "aggressive": "Google targets to ship some 3 million units for the first batch of the new model of smart speaker that comes with a screen," an industry source said. "It's an aggressive plan." Earlier in 2018, Google announced a new "Smart Display" platform with partners like Lenovo, JBL, and Sony. Through these partnerships, the Google Assistant can be placed in devices not directly built by Google, like the Lenovo Smart Display and upcoming JBL Link View and ThinQ View. The new product described in today's report would represent Google's own first-party entry into this market. Google and Amazon butted heads following the launch of the Echo Show last year, when Google

Google Assistant's 'Continued Conversations' Rolling Out to Reduce Need for 'OK Google' Commands

Siri rival Google Assistant received a major update today across the Google Home speaker ecosystem with a feature Google revealed at I/O in May, called "Continued Conversation." Now, when you speak to Google Assistant and wake it up with a "Hey Google" or "OK Google" phrase, you don't need to repeat the phrase again for a follow-up request. For example, you can ask "Hey Google, what's the weather today?", and then follow up with "And what about tomorrow?" or "Can you remind me to bring an umbrella tomorrow morning?" When your thread of requests is finished, Google explains that you can say "thank you" or "stop" to end the conversation, but Google Assistant will also do this automatically if it detects you're no longer talking to it. Continued Conversations will need to be turned on in the Google Assistant app's Settings > Preferences > Continued Conversation. When starting up a new conversation you'll still need to say "OK Google" or activate a physical trigger every time, but the company hopes that reducing the instances you need to speak a wake-up phrase will result in more fluid and natural interactions with Google Assistant. In comparison, Apple's Siri still requires you to say "Hey Siri" every time a command is given, or by activating the AI assistant manually on iPhone or HomePod. Later this year, Apple will debut improvements to Siri in iOS 12 in the form of a new "Siri Shortcuts" feature, allowing iPhone owners to build customizable workflows and connect a variety of third-party apps and services under one voice command. Siri remains one of the

Google Assistant Gaining Support for Multiple Requests and Continued Conversations, Will Be Able to Make Phone Calls for You in the Future

Google today hosted its annual I/O conference designed for developers, where the company had several new announcements to share related to AI, Google Assistant, and machine learning. Google announced the launch of its next-generation machine learning chip, the TPU 3.0, which is powering many AI improvements to Google products using machine learning techniques. Gmail, for example, is gaining a new smart compose feature that will suggest full phrases for you as you type. Pressing the tab key will insert the suggested phrase, cutting down on the amount of typing that you need to do in Gmail. In the next couple of months, Google Photos will get Suggested Actions, offering contextual functions for you to act on. For example, if you have a photo with a friend in it, Google Photos will suggest sending the photo to the friend. If a photo is underexposed, Google will suggest a fix that can be initiated with one tap. It can also do things like remove the background color from an image, or colorize a black and white photo. Multiple improvements are coming to Google Assistant, Google's version of Siri. Google Assistant is gaining six new voices, including John Legend's Voice, and there have been improvements to the assistant's understanding of the social dynamics of conversations. Continued conversations will be supported in the coming weeks, which means you won't need to say the Ok Google activation phrase for every request. Instead, you can say it once and then follow up a request with additional questions that Google Assistant will be able to understand. As of

Google Says Assistant Works With Over 5,000 Smart Home Devices, HomeKit/Siri Around 200

Google this morning posted a story on its Keyword Blog that highlights the ongoing growth of its AI helper, Google Assistant. According to the company, the Assistant now works with "every major device brand" in the U.S., meaning that it can connect with more than 5,000 smart home devices, up from 1,500 in January. This growth period saw media and entertainment queries increase by 400 percent, with Google users taking advantage of "OK Google" commands on Android TV, smart TVs, and Chromecast. Another popular area for Google is security cameras like Nest's products, including the Nest Hello doorbell. When someone rings the doorbell, Nest can communicate a chime to Google Home, play a livestream on Chromecast, and then users can respond to their visitor on their smartphone. Google also laid out plans for Assistant expansions later this year, including placing the Assistant on DISH Hopper receivers, Logitech Harmony remotes, smart door locks from August and Schlage, security cameras from Panasonic, and alarm brand support from ADT, First Alert, and Vivint Smart Home. Over the past year, we’ve made great progress ensuring that the Google Assistant can work with all types of connected devices, and now every major device brand works with the Assistant in the U.S. Just how many devices is that? Today, the Google Assistant can connect with more than 5,000 devices for your home—up from 1,500 this January. That includes cameras, dishwashers, doorbells, dryers, lights, plugs, thermostats, security systems, switches, vacuums, washers, fans, locks, sensors, heaters, AC

Google Assistant Now Natively Supports iPad

Google Assistant for iOS has been updated with native iPad support today. The design looks essentially the same as the iPhone version, but with an interface optimized for the larger 7.9-inch to 12.9-inch screen sizes of Apple's tablets. Like rivals Siri, Alexa, and Cortana, Google Assistant is a digital assistant that can set reminders, schedule calendar appointments, answer questions, and provide other information through machine learning techniques. Apple only allows third-party assistants to function within their apps, however, limiting their usefulness versus Siri on iPhone and iPad. For example, Google Assistant can't be invoked with a voice command when an iOS device is locked. Nevertheless, iPad users now have one more option to choose from alongside Siri, Alexa, and Cortana. Google Assistant is free on the App Store. Update: Google has shared a press release highlighting a few ways its assistant can be used around the house:- Set the mood by having the Assistant "dim the lights" - Cast to your TV by asking the Assistant to "watch the latest news on the living room TV" - Stay in touch by asking the Assistant to "video call mom" or "text Lauren" - Keep up with your chores by asking the Assistant to "remind me to take out the recycling at 8 PM"Google Assistant for iPad is currently available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, and Spanish.

Smart Speaker Showdown: HomePod vs. Google Home Max vs. Sonos One

Apple's new HomePod is late to the smart speaker market, which is already crowded with speakers from companies like Amazon, Google, and Sonos. The latter two companies, Google and Sonos, have released speakers with high-quality sound and robust voice assistants, giving the HomePod some serious competition. We decided to pit Apple's $349 HomePod against both the $399 Google Home Max, which comes with Google Assistant, and the $199 Alexa-powered Sonos One to see how the HomePod measures up. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. To compare the three speakers, we focused on design, sound quality, and the overall performance of Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. When it comes to design -- and this is certainly subjective -- we preferred the look of the HomePod with its fabric-wrapped body and small but solid form factor. The Sonos One looks a little more dated with its squarer body and standard speaker mesh, while the Google Home Max has a much larger footprint that's going to take up more space. Apple's HomePod All three offer touch-based controls at the top of the device, but the Google Home Max has one design edge - a USB-C port and a 3.5mm audio jack for connecting external music sources. The Sonos One has a single Ethernet port, while the HomePod has no ports. Though we liked the HomePod's design, Siri, as you might expect, did not perform as well as Alexa on Sonos One or Google Assistant on Google Home Max. Google Home Max On questions like "Is Pluto a planet?" or "What's the fastest car?" both Alexa and Google Assistant were

Google Home Mini Firmware Update Reinstates Touch Controls Previously Disabled Over Privacy Concerns

Google's Home Mini smart speaker received an update on Friday that brings back some of the touch-based controls that the company had to disable shortly after its release back in October (via AndroidPolice). Google was forced to turn off the built-in touch panel, which is designed to let users activate Google Assistant with a long press instead of a voice command, after a reviewer discovered that some of the devices were registering "phantom touch events". The issue meant that some Minis were prone to recording conversations and sounds even when no "OK Google" voice command was spoken, immediately prompting privacy concerns. As a result, Google opted to disable the touch features completely, including single-tap functions that played and paused music, snoozed alarms, and ended phone calls. Friday's v1.29 firmware update reinstates some of that single-tap functionality, but via a side long press instead. After installing the update, Google Home Mini owners will again be able to play/pause music, end phone calls, and silence alarms without speaking to the device. However, users still won't be able to trigger voice input using touch, because the top long press functions remain disabled. The software tweak is initially being rolled out in the preview firmware channel, which Home Mini owners can join via the Home app settings if they don't want to wait around for the automatic

Google Disables Malfunctioning Home Mini Feature That Could Cause Non-Stop Recording [Updated]

Google recently disabled a feature included in its upcoming Google Home Mini smart speaker after a reviewer found that it was causing the device to record conversations and sounds even when no "OK Google" prompt word was spoken. As detailed by Android Police's Artem Russakovskii, who received a Google Home Mini test unit last week, the device was malfunctioning due to an issue with the built-in touch panel designed to let Google Assistant be activated with a press instead of a voice command. The Google Home Mini's touch mechanism was registering phantom touch events, causing it to continually record audio, which is not supposed to happen. Russakovskii discovered the problem after finding thousands of recordings in the Assistant section his My Activity portal on the web, where Assistant queries are stored. Google was alerted to the issue and collected his unit for testing, which led to the discovery of the faulty touch mechanism. The problem as described by Google:We have learned of an issue impacting a small number of Google Home Minis that could cause the touch mechanism to behave incorrectly. We are rolling out a software update today that should address the issue.To fix the malfunctioning touch panel, Google released a firmware update for all Google Home Mini devices disabling the feature allowing Google Assistant to be activated with a long press. Google told Russakovskii a longer-term fix is in the works, but in the meantime, the press to activate feature will not be available when the Google Home Mini launches.In response, the updated software disables the

Upcoming 'Google Home Mini' Smart Speaker Details and Images Leaked

We've previously covered rumors that Google has been working on a "mini" version of its $129 Google Home smart speaker, which is expected to be unveiled at the company's Pixel 2 smartphone event scheduled for October 4. But it looks as if details and images of the "Home Mini" have already been leaked, courtesy of DroidLife. According to the tech site, Google Home Mini is the official name of the new smart speaker, which will cost $49 and come in Chalk, Charcoal, and Coral colors. The Google Home Mini is said to be able to help users with their schedule, set reminders, catch up on news headlines, and other Home-related inquiries, thanks to integrated Google Assistant. The pictures show lights on top of each unit, which will likely indicate interaction with Google Assistant. But unlike the original Google Home, the images suggest owners won't be able to change the color of the bases on the Mini versions. Alongside the new smart speaker, Google is expected to launch a rebranded Chromebook or "Google Pixelbook" at its Pixel 2 smartphone event. DroidLife has also managed to unearth pictures of the new notebook, which will reportedly come in silver, offer stylus support, and have three different storage tiers – 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB, costing $1,199, $1,399, and $1,749,

Enhancements Coming to Google Assistant Set to Rival Siri Improvements in iOS 11

In the run-up to the official release of iOS 11 this month, much of Apple's focus has been on touted improvements coming to its built-in virtual assistant, Siri. Apart from becoming more naturally spoken, Siri will allow users to get real-time translation between select languages and is said to boast a greater understanding of the user's needs dependent on circumstance and time of day, with the AI assistant's learning synced across devices. Apple is hoping these and other improvements will go some way to quashing negative perceptions of Siri, which have led some iOS users to turn to rival assistants for a better experience. One of those rivals is Google Assistant, which as well as powering Google's Pixel smartphones is integrated into Google's iOS Search app. In general tests, Google Assistant consistently beats Siri in areas including language comprehension, responsiveness, and answer accuracy. But like Apple, Google's AI team is not resting on its laurels, and this week at Google Developer Days, the company demoed some of the new features it is working to bring to its flagship assistant in the near future. Like Siri, one of the major additions coming to Google Assistant is a new translator mode, which once activated by the user with the phrase "OK Google, be my [specify language] translator", repeats everything that is subsequently said in the requested language both vocally and visually. While standard translation as such isn't new to Google Assistant, the new way of interacting with it is designed to be more useful when users are traveling abroad. Another

Google I/O 2017: Assistant on iOS, Bluetooth Streaming on Google Home, and Easy Sharing With Photos

Google today kicked off its annual I/O developer conference in Mountain View, California, beginning with a keynote where the company announced Google Assistant for iPhone, new Google Home features including the ability to stream Apple Music via Bluetooth, and new photo sharing features in Google Photos. Google Assistant on iOS As it was rumored earlier this week, Google today announced that its AI helper Google Assistant is out now for iOS as its own standalone app [Direct Link]. This way, users will be able to chat with Google and gain access to all of its interactive features without needing a Pixel or Android smartphone. The company also revealed that Google Assistant will be gaining new chatbot abilities and integration with a new technology called Google Lens, which enhances a smartphone's camera with AI learning. As an example, Google showed a demo where a user took a picture of a business's sign, and gave them reviews, menu items, friend check-ins, and more. Other examples include the camera's ability to identify what a user is looking at, such as the species of a flower, or connecting to a Wi-Fi network by taking a picture of a sticker on a router.

Google Rumored to Launch Standalone 'Google Assistant' App on iOS With Chat and Voice Controls

Google is planning to launch its smart AI helper Google Assistant on iOS sometime "soon" as its own standalone app, according to sources speaking to Android Police. The rumor is swirling ahead of Google's annual I/O Conference, which will run this week from May 17 to May 19 in California. According to the sources, the specifics of Google's plans for Assistant on iOS remain unclear as of now, but the app is predicted to combine the chatbot-like features of Google Allo with voice controls found on Android smartphones. More solid details about the Google Assistant iOS app point towards a United States-only launch, and an official announcement coming "in fairly short order." According to a trusted source, Google plans to announce that the Google Assistant will be launching on iOS soon as a standalone app. The announcement could come as soon as Google's I/O conference this week, but it's unclear exactly what Google's plans are at this time. The app would likely feature a blend of the "chat" style functionality in the Google Allo version of Assistant and the voice-controlled version found on Android, but again, details are scant. We do know that the Assistant for iOS will only be available in the US at launch, and that Google plans to make the announcement in fairly short order. I/O would be a pretty ideal venue for such a launch, as Assistant's SDK was just made available to developers late last month. Bringing the Assistant to the world's second-largest mobile OS would likely encourage more developers to integrate with the app's functionality. Microsoft has

Google Home Speaker Criticized For Spreading Fake News

Google's search algorithms came under renewed fire on Sunday after the BBC highlighted examples in which the company's Google Home smart speaker promotes "fake news" and conspiracy theories through its virtual assistant. BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones tweeted a video yesterday that appears to show the smart device responding to the question "Is Obama planning a coup?" with the reply: "Obama may in fact be planning a Communist coup d'etat at the end of his term in 2016." In another example, Search Editor Land editor Danny Sullivan asked his Google Home "Are Republicans fascists?", to which it replied: "Yes. Republicans equals Nazis." As pointed out by Business Insider, the fault lies in Google's Featured Snippets feature, which corrals data from the web to provide the user with a supposedly definitive answer to a query typed into the Google search bar. A version of the feature powers Google Assistant, the company's voice-activated virtual assistant, which is built into the Google Home smart speaker and some smartphones. The algorithms Google uses to verify online sources of information appear to be at fault, but the issue is arguably worse on smart devices because the answers they provide are plucked from the web without context since users are not actively viewing the source. A Google spokesperson told Business Insider in a statement that "Featured Snippets in Search provide an automatic and algorithmic match to a given search query, and the content comes from third-party sites. Unfortunately, there are instances when we feature a site with

MWC 2017: Google Assistant Expands Beyond Pixel to New Android Smartphones

Google today announced that its AI helper, Google Assistant, will begin rolling out to users with smartphones running Android 7.0 Nougat and Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Previously, the company's AI assistant was exclusive to the Pixel smartphone, Google Home, the Google Allo app, and Android Wear devices. Google Assistant will first arrive to English users in the United States this week, followed soon after with an English debut in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Support for German speakers will be coming soon, and Google said that it will "continue to add more languages over the coming year." Users with eligible Nougat and Marshmallow devices will automatically gain Google Assistant through Google Play Services. Whether you need to know how to say “nice to meet you” in Korean or just a simple reminder to do laundry when you get home, your Assistant can help. With the Google Assistant on Android phones, you have your own personal, helpful Google right in your pocket. A few new smartphones will be incorporating Google Assistant from the get-go as well, like the LG G6 and some other "newly announced partner devices." Sony, Huawei, Samsung, and HTC are all listed as companies with Android smartphones that will support Google Assistant. With the expansion of Google Assistant to more smartphone lines, as well as a future launch on TVs and in cars, Google is continuing to bolster the Assistant's competition against Apple and Siri. Many smartphone vendors are reported to be doubling down on artificial intelligence features for smartphones debuting in 2017 and

Siri and Pixel's Google Assistant Compete Side-by-Side in New Video

Google's Pixel phones are the first official devices with Google Assistant, its machine learning AI and assistant, built directly into it. The company wants Google Assistant to be "your own personal Google," performing basic tasks for a user, carrying on conversations, and performing search queries. YouTuber Marques Brownlee decided to test the new Google Assistant by putting it into a head-to-head competition with the latest version of Siri, running on an iPhone 7 Plus. In the video, Brownlee puts both devices side-by-side and activates them at the same time. He gives them a series of queries and commands, testing how each one responds. Brownlee starts with simpler tasks, like checking the weather, completing math equations, opening apps, and setting timers. He then moves into slightly more advanced queries, like asking what time the post office closes, Tesla's stock prices, and who the President of the United States is. After figuring out who the president is, Brownlee asked both assistants how tall he is. Google Assistant was able to figure out who President Barack Obama was and how tall he is, while Siri had to resort to a Bing search. When asked how tall Obama was, Siri stumbled, searching for how tall the United States is. Brownlee soon asks how tall Obama is to both assistants more directly, and both answer the query with no problems. Next, he once again tries to carry on a contextual conversation with the assistants. While Google Assistant could identify who won the Super Bowl and the team's current quarterback, Siri struggled to connect the two queries.

Google I/O 2016: Assistant, Home, Allo, Duo, Android N, and More

Google hosted its annual I/O developers keynote at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California today, announcing multiple new products and services related to Android, search, messaging, home automation, and more. Google Assistant Google Assistant is described as a "conversational assistant" that builds upon Google Now based on two-way dialog. The tool can be used, for example, to ask who directed the movie Avatar, and to ask which other movies he has directed, and Google should be able to isolate the questions from the conversation and provide answers. The new Siri and Alexa rival, compatible with both voice and chat, will be widely available on Android, iOS, in the home, and elsewhere later this year. Google Home Google Home is a new Wi-Fi-enabled personal assistant device for the home that enables people to ask Google search queries, manage everyday tasks, enjoy music and entertainment, and more using hands-free "OK Google" voice commands. The Amazon Echo rival features a clean, color-changing design with no buttons, a speaker on the bottom, multiple room support, remote control of Chromecast and other speakers, compatibility with Nest and other popular home automation platforms, and more. Google Home can be used to make general searches, check flight statuses, track shipments, set dinner reservations, turn on lights or play music in certain rooms, receive real-time traffic and routing information, check your appointments, and more. Google Home will be available later this year. Pricing was not