16 January 2020
Google also marked its attendance at the CES 2020 event in Las Vegas but with no new particular hardware or any tangible products. The announcement rather revolved around its Assistant, the AI-powered voice assistant. Google has been adding new capabilities and features to its Google Assistant across devices so that you could interact more and do more with it.
Following the same direction, Google has now added new features to the Assistant and announced them at CES 2020.
The first cool feature added is the Sticky Notes and as you might have guessed, you just need to command the Google Assistant to add a sticky note and it will bring it to the Smart Display, because, of course, that’s a visual thing and you would want it to see it stuck somewhere.
Anyone at home can create or view these notes without needing to sign in. For instance, you can leave a note to your family members that you have already fed your pet. So, simply say “Hey Google, leave a note that says I already fed Max breakfast.” And, thus a yellow Post-It-Esque tab will appear on your Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max's home screen.
Next up, is the Speed Dial feature that lets you add your most important numbers to speed dial so that you could quickly make a call. The feature is certainly helpful when you have so many contacts with the same name. So, you would just need to add your favorite contact you frequently make calls to with the help of the Google Assistant. So, this way you would end up calling the right Paul every time. These two new family features are expected to begin rolling out later this year.
Another great feature is the Scheduled Actions and as the name implies it lets you schedule the actions you make with Google Assistant. This feature works a similar way as the regular Actions but the only difference, you schedule them with a specific time. For instance, you say, “Hey Google, turn the garden lights on at 8 pm.” Or you could ask the Assistant to run a coffee maker at 6 am, so this way the corresponding Action will get triggered at a specified time. This way you will have more granular control of your smart home devices.
Google has announced that it will join more than 20 new devices that the Assistant can integrate, from AC units, air purifiers, to vacuum cleaners and connected bathtubs. It has also been announced that more smart devices from top brands will work with Assistant -
August Smart Locks, Philips Hue HDMI Sync Box, Telus Wi-Fi Hub routers, GE Appliances Ultrafresh Front Load Washer, MOEN shower, D-Link Outdoor Wi-Fi Spotlight camera, VIAROOM Smart, Somfy TaHoma Hub, Yeelight Staria Bedside Lamp Pro and MerossSmart’s garage door opener. For example, you can create an immersive lighting experience while you’re watching a movie by using the Assistant to turn on the Philips Hue HDMI Sync Box, which will sync your Philips Hue smart lights with your TV, coming later this Spring.
Google at CES 2020 also announced that it is enabling natural reading of long-form content. Google Assistant already reads out news or anything you tell it to read to you. But now with an update, the AI-powered Assistant will sound more realistic. Google says unlike the traditional screen readers, the experience is built on new voice datasets for a more expressive and more natural sounding voice.
According to Google, this is best useful in conditions when you want to read long webpages out loud. From your Android phone, you just have to say “Hey Google, read it” or “Hey Google, read this page.” The best part is the content can be translated into 42 languages, such as Hindi, German, or Spanish. Google also said that it is looking to include auto-scroll for even natural realism together with text highlighting capabilities.
Google is now also introducing the real-time translation feature called the Interpreter mode to airports, banks, and more, to avoid communication gap between the staff and clients. Google has added the list of airports and banks which are getting this mode enabled for better hospitality. Google exemplifies while announcing the availability of the mode that millions of passengers travel through John F. Kennedy International (JFK) Airport’s Terminal T4 in New York.
Many of whom visit the US for the first time. So, for such travelers, the information desks located within the terminal will also serve the Interpreter mode. So, “ Travelers can get assistance with locating luggage, navigating the terminal, finding concessions, and locating ground transportation. "
American Airlines will be the first Airline to test the Google Assistant’s Interpreter Mode.
Every Google Assistant announcement is incomplete without new privacy cautionary and as always, this time as well, Google has announced something around your privacy for an even stringent safety. AT CES 2020, Google has announced new commands to control what the Assistant collects.
There are now two new voice actions – the first is “Hey Google, that wasn’t for you,” this commands the Assistant that to forget that wasn’t intended to it. The second is “Hey Google are you saving my audio data,” brings up information about what is being stored and then it takes you straight into the Settings page to handle the options. Note that Google already offers things like “Hey Google, delete what I said to you this week” to control the log of interactions.
Together with the new features, Google also announced the further expansion of the Google Assistant. Google announced that the Assistant is already available on more than 1 billion devices, and soon more devices will join, including smart displays, headphones, soundbars from leading companies. Also, Google Assistant will be available on Samsung’s new voice-enabled Smart TVs launching in 2020.