Items tagged with google assistant

We all know someone who uses their smartphone a little too often, whether it's a relentless barrage of selfies sent through Snapchat or an inability to log off social media in general. To combat this, Google introduced its Digital Wellbeing initiative at its most recent I/O event. It mostly consists of providing tools for users to monitor how much time they spend on their phones and watching YouTube videos, and some of the features are headed to Google Home and the Google Assistant. "We’re dedicated to building technology that is truly helpful for everyone. We’re creating tools and features that help people better understand their tech usage, focus on what matters most, disconnect... Read more...
The Lenovo Smart display is the first in an assault of Google Assistant-enabled devices set to hit the market this year. They will take on Amazon's Echo Show in a battle for smart home assistant technology, with not only a set of ears, but also a set of eyes and a display face to complete the experience. Priced at $249.99 for a 10-inch version and $199.99 for an 8-inch variant, with identical hardware specs except for the display, these are a new breed of smart home devices that have the potential to give Google and its OEM partners a leg-up on Amazon. Since they're part of the "Android Things" ecosystem, Android users will have direct access to their data and media on Google's many... Read more...
Way back in January at the Consumer Electronics Show, Lenovo announced its Smart Display family. The Smart Displays take the concept of the Google Home or Google Home Mini and add a touch screen into the mix. Lenovo and Google announced today that the Smart Display will be available in U.S. retail locations and online stores starting this weekend. The Lenovo Smart Display is available in two screen sizes: 8-inches or 10-inches with HD resolutions. Looking at the devices, you wouldn't be out of line to say that it's a Google Assistant-backed alternative to the Amazon Echo Show.  Given that it leverages the Android Things Platform with Google Assistant, you'll be able to... Read more...
New research into the effectiveness and accuracy of Amazon's Echo and Google's Home smart speakers powered by Alexa and Google Now, respectively, shows that the digital assistants have some difficulty understanding and responding to users with accents. This includes regional dialects, but especially people who speak English as a second language. The disparity was brought up by The Washington Post, which shared an anecdote involving a Vancouver resident who was raised in Columbia and has a light Spanish accent. When she would ask Alexa to perform menial tasks, the digital assistant would trip over itself. Sometimes it would even perform the complete opposite task, like turning the volume of music... Read more...
DISH has become the very first major pay-tv company to offer users compatibility with Google Assistant. The compatibility launches today for the Hopper, Hopper Duo, Joey, and Wally set-top boxes. The cool part about this compatibility is that you don’t need to go out and buy additional hardware. While Google Home devices are supported, so are most Android phones and iPhones with the Google Assistant app installed. "Since we first introduced voice control technology, we've seen our customers really embrace the hands-free TV experience," said Niraj Desai, DISH vice president of product management. "Our collaboration with Google is an exciting opportunity for us to continue meeting... Read more...
Do you want to have a more natural conversation with your AI voice assistant? If saying wake words like "OK, Google" over and over again seem to robotic and stilted for you, Google is pushing out an update that it first announced at Google I/O called Continued Conversation.  Continued Conversation will all you to invoke "OK, Google" or "Hey, Google" just once by voice, and then you'll be able to ask repeated questions without having to break out the wake words again. For example, you could say "Hey, Google, how far is it from Richmond, Virginia to Asheville, North Carolina"; "What's the temperature in Asheville"; and "Turn on the outside lights" while only using the wake words once. If you... Read more...
Virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant have been growing in popularity in recent years as more and more devices gain support for the assistants. This growth is coming despite some significant privacy issues with Alexa recently, notably when the Amazon Alexa device recorded a private conversation and sent it to a random contact on the device. Amazon came back with a convoluted answer as to how that breach of privacy happened and vowed to make it so this couldn't happen again. The image below shows a screenshot claimed to be of a coming Xbox One build that offers users the ability to enable voice control with digital assistants. In that image available assistants called out include... Read more...
It looks as though Google is turning the corner with regards to its positioning in the growing AI smart speaker market. Ever since Google Home was first introduced in late 2016, it has played second fiddle to the dominant Amazon Echo family (which originally launched in late 2014). However, new sales numbers coming in this week from Canalys claim that Google Home sales have surpassed the Amazon Echo for the first time. Canalys' numbers are for Q1 2018, during which Google reportedly shipped 3.2 million Google Home devices. Amazon, on the other hand, sold 2.5 million Echo devices during the same quarter. Google's performance represented a 483 percent increase year-over-year, while Amazon showed... Read more...
Xiaomi is on the verge of launching its initial public offering (IPO), and the company is also looking to extend its reach into the U.S. market. No, we’re not talking about Xiaomi’s smartphones, which are incredibly popular in its home market of China, but smart home products. At Google I/O 2018, Xiaomi announced that it will introduce a family of smart home devices that will integrate fully with the Google Assistant. The Mi LED Smart Bulb plugs into to a standard light socket and can be configured to output nearly any color that you prefer (over 16 million colors are supported). With the Google Assistant, you can simply use your voice to change the color temperature, brightness levels... Read more...
For many people, digital assistants have become a party of daily life—you might have Siri set a reminder for an upcoming appointment on your iPhone, or tell Alexa to order more laundry detergent from Amazon. These AI (artificial intelligence) assistants are becoming more capable by the day as well. But can they be used for nefarious purposes? Perhaps so, and it could happen right under your nose—over the past couple of years, researchers have demonstrated that Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, and Google's Assistant can each receive 'hidden' commands that are undetectable to the human ear. Some of the things that can be done without an owner's knowledge are seemingly pretty mundane, like... Read more...
Due to the fact that we cover technology on a daily basis, we can see its gradual progression over time, which means that we don't often see such a huge leap in capabilities that simply leaves us slack-jawed. However, that jaw-dropping moment happened today at Google I/O. Google CEO Sundar Pichai was on stage talking about the advances that have been made with its Google Duplex AI system. Google Duplex is capable of carrying on natural, realistic conversations in a [limited] real world settings to help free you from more mundane tasks, such as booking an oil change for your car or reserving a table at your favorite restaurant. To demonstrate the advances that Google Duplex... Read more...
Harman has announced that JBL and Google are working together to develop the JBL Link Bar. At a glance, the Link Bar looks just like any other soundbar you might sit on the entertainment center near the TV, but this sound bar has some other cool features that are firsts for the market. Google talked the device up ahead of the Google I/O developer conference in California this week. This is the first soundbar in the industry that is powered by Android TV and has Google Assistant integration. The big deal with this device is that it allows folks with a perfectly good TV or a home theater projector setup to add both features without having to replace the TV or projector. All the JBL Link needs is... Read more...
Google has announced that it has added new features to Google Assistant on Wear OS that will make it more useful for smartwatch users. One of the new features is smart suggestions that allow users to choose from contextually relevant follow-up questions or responses to continue the conversation they start with Google Assistant. When users ask the assistant about the weather, they are shown the weather and can then tap on a suggestion to see the extended forecast for the weekend. Google Assistant can also allow users to hear the answers to their questions. An example is when a user is listening to music on their way to work, they can ask Google Assistant to "tell me about my day." The assistant... Read more...
Javier Soltero was the head of the Office team at Microsoft but he has since vacated that position, and is now the head of a new team in Redmond. Soltero is reportedly now the corporate VP over Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana. Soltero has a big job ahead of him, as Cortana is the underdog in the fight against industry leader Alexa from Amazon and the Google Assistant. The reason that Cortana has been relegated to third fiddle has to do with the fact that it’s not used outside of Microsoft hardware and software. Cortana is found on all Windows 10 machines, the Xbox platform and recently the GLAS thermostat from Johnson Controls. Both Google and Amazon have their respective... Read more...
Google announced today that its premium Nest Cam IQ has been upgraded with support for the Google Assistant. The over-the-air update is being beamed down to the cameras as we speak. Like other devices equipped with the Google Assistant, this update allows users to simply say "OK Google", after which you can ask it a question or have it perform a command (like turning on your outside lights or opening the garage door). "It’s already a best-in-class security camera with top-of-its-class smartsbrains," said Nest's Maxime Veron. "And the Google Assistant will add a whole new level of intelligence by helping answer questions, control your home, and manage tasks." In addition, Google has announced... Read more...
Back in early December, Qualcomm officially launched its Snapdragon 835 Mobile PC Platform for always-connected Window 10 PCs. Not only do all of these ultra-light notebooks and 2-in-1 convertibles feature full x86 emulation in Windows 10 and Snapdragon X16 gigabit-class LTE modems, but they also promise battery life in the 20+ hour range. Lenovo is the latest OEM to embrace Qualcomm's platform with the all-new Miix 630. The Miix 630 is a detachable convertible running Windows 10 S. Given that the fanless system has a Snapdragon 835 onboard, an Adreno 540 GPU is handling all the graphics duties. The system can be had with either 4GB or 8GB of memory, and will be available with internal storage... Read more...
When it comes to standalone media streaming hardware, Roku is the market leader with it family of affordable devices. Roku has even managed to integrate its streaming goodness into smart TVs, including popular budget brand TCL. First initiated in 2014, the Roku TV initiative has grown to include eight television brands (the recent addition of Magnavox will make it nine), and Roku claims that one out of every five smart TVs sold in the United States is running the Roku OS. Now, Roku is looking to further extend its reach by expanding its technology licensing program to include smart speakers and soundbars, which will connect to Roku TVs and Roku settop boxes using Roku Connect. Roku Connect allows... Read more...
One of the themes we expect to be in full force at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next month is smart speakers. Amazon leads the charge with its Echo products, and following its success, others have jumped on board the smart speaker bandwagon, including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Harman Kardon, to name a few. You can add LG to the list as well, which just unveiled its 2018 speaker lineup. Among LG's new speakers coming out is a soundbar with Google Assistant integration. It offers full connectivity to hubs, speakers, and other smart devices support Chromecast, and allows users to bark out commands starting with "OK Google" to pull audio from streaming sources. Outside of... Read more...
NVIDIA is launching a new update today for the SHIELD TV, which it says is the most important update in the last two years the device has been available. There are several important new capabilities added to SHIELD TV in this update with perhaps the biggest being Google Assistant support. Google Assistant will be able to take advantage of your big screen TV and surround sound speakers for the best audio possible.The update also includes hands-free access to Assistant for TV, which is a first, and allows you to interact with your TV without having to pick up the controller. Another new feature for the update is the integration of Samsung SmartThings into SHIELD. This feature works with SHIELD... Read more...
  The Google Assistant is gaining some new tricks, and it is applying its machine learning algorithms to your smartphone’s camera. So now, you’ll be able to pull out your smartphone and point your camera at objects and have the Assistant display relevant content based on what it “sees”. Since your smartphone knows where you are based on your GPS location data, you can aim your camera at the front of restaurant, for example. The Assistant will be able to recognize the restaurant and provide you important information like ratings, contact information and hours of operation. Think of it as Google Translate that has been massaged to help in more everyday situations. Google gave the example of... Read more...
Google apps on Apple’s iOS platform aren’t exactly a foreign concept these days. The bulk of the search giant’s productivity, communications and webmaster tools are available on the iPhone including apps like Gmail, Google+, Google Drive, Google Docs and even Google Analytics. But one particular service that has since been reserved for Android devices might soon make the leap to iPhones: the Google Assistant. This information comes from Android Police, which typically has a good track record with regards to unreleased Android software features. According to the site, the standalone Google Assistant iOS app will “likely feature a blend of the "chat" style functionality in the Google Allo... Read more...
It has been over five years since Apple introduced Siri, which came baked into the iPhone 4S. Since that time, the idea of using a digital assistant has become popular in the mobile space with other players introducing their own digital assistants. One of them is Google. Android users have grown accustomed to using Google Assistant, and though the virtual assistant is primarily an Android tool, it may be making its way to iOS.The notion of Google Assistant sitting alongside Siri on iPhone devices was revealed at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this past weekend. Google product management director Gummi Hafsteinsson hinted of the possibility of pairing the two, though also noted that there... Read more...
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