Google Assistant News Roundup From September and October 2018
Google has recently announced quite a number of new software updates, device updates, and new products, and not just at their recent Made By Google event. Voicebot hopes to relieve any confusion over the volume of recent announcements and help readers parse out announcements that are the most relevant to you. To stay on top of the latest Google Assistant-related news, read on.
Smart Displays – Hardware
Google announced a new smart display of their own, as well as two smart display partnerships earlier this year.
- Google Home Hub
- pre-order begins Oct. 22
- JBL Link View
- released Sep. 2018
- Lenovo Smart Display
- released Jul. 2018
Smart Displays – Software
These software updates will affect all smart display devices with Google partnerships.
- Multi-Room Audio
- Smart displays can be added to speaker groups in order to play music throughout room.
- Live Album displays from Google Photos
- Ambient Mode will automatically curate and display your photos by filtering out blurry photos, duplicates, screenshots, sensitive photos, and receipts.
- Nest Hello Doorbell integration
- Smart displays show who is at the door when someone rings, quick responses enabled.
- Home View
- Swiping down from top edge of your smart display will let you see and control all smart home devices in one dashboard
- Google Assistant on smart displays serves as universal controls for playback, power, volume adjustment, visual channel guides, etc due to increased partnerships with popular media and entertainment devices.
Smart speakers – Hardware
- KB Home has announced an initiative to install Google Home smart speakers and Google Assistant-compatible smart home devices in new construction projects.
Smartphones – Hardware
- Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL
- announced Oct. 09, 2018
- Google Assistant updates are core upgrades
Smartphones – Software
Recent Google Pixel Phone software updates:
- Screen calls/ block spam
- Using Google Assistant, a transcript of calls from unknown numbers is automatically available on the Pixel 3 in real-time. The user can choose to join the call, ignore it and wait until later or block the caller.
- Google Duplex
- Limited to certain locations (New York, Atlanta, Phoenix, and the San Francisco Bay Area), later this year Pixel users will be able to experiment with using Duplex to handle booking a restaurant reservation, salon appointment, or check on store hours.
- Visual snapshot of day
- Visual Overview of your day shown when opening Google Assistant app on your phone. Proactive suggestions and personalized information given as well.
- Google assistant can be used through lockscreen
- Google Assistant is able to learn and respond to your voice, allowing users to use the Assistant to answer personal queries without needing to unlock their phone. Examples include, “Hey Google, show me my unread emails.” and “Hey Google, what’s next on my calendar?”
- Shopping List
- Allows users to add an item to more than one list.
- Can now manage multiple lists in the Assistant.
- Google Keep support coming soon
Google Assistant – Other Hardware & Accessories
- Pixel USB-C Earbuds
- Featuring Google Assistant Integration, button press to activate. Note: the Pixel does not have a headphone jack. Similar to earlier version Pixel Buds.
- Pixel Stand
- A phone dock and charging station for the Pixel; “brings a contextually relevant Google Assistant” when a Pixel phone is docked.
- Google Wear OS gets a redesign, is faster and more proactive.
Google Assistant – Software
- Google Assistant on smartphones received a multi-modal display update.
- Google Assistant introduced digital goods purchases and streamlined account linking for Google Actions.
- A new interface in the Google Home app shows all smart home devices in a single dashboard similar to Google Home Hub.
- Digital Wellbeing Initiative
- Android 9 Pie (currently in beta for Pixel users) allows users to see a dashboard of how they’re spending time on their device. Examples include, how many times you’ve unlocked your phone, how many notifications you have received, time limits for apps.
- Filter Introduction
- Downtime with “wind down” setting for when you go to bed.
- Real-time Google Translate feature now available to all Google Assistant-enabled headphones and Android smartphones.
- Bilingual Capability means you can now have your Google Assistant or Google Home recognized inputs from two different languages simultaneously.
- Continued Conversations is the feature where Google Assistant stays active after an interaction for a short period, so you can ask for something else without having to say the, “Hey Google” wake-up phrase.
- Assistant is now partnered with over 10,000 third-party devices. That is up from just 1,500 in January 2018.
Hopefully, this helps a bit with putting into context all of Google’s announcements from the Made By Google Event and the three weeks leading up to it. Feedback is welcomed, Please let Voicebot know on Twitter (@voicebotai) if you have any questions or we missed anything that you found was important news during the period.