Google is at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to showcase what’s in store for the Google Assistant in 2019.
The company is introducing a preview of Google Assistant Connect, a platform for device manufacturers to bring the Google Assistant into their products in an affordable way. Connect uses Google's existing smart home platform to expand to new device types while making device setup and discovery simple for people.
Assistant Connect creates opportunities to bring different types of smart devices to the market. For example, Google's partners could create a simple and inexpensive e-ink display that continually projects the weather or your calendar, while using Assistant Connect to deliver content from your linked smart speaker. The Google Assistant handles the higher-order computing—knowing what’s on the calendar, checking for updates, and so on. Google promised to share more about Assistant Connect and how device makers can gain access to the technology later this year.
Google also worled with Lenovo on its new Smart Clock, featuring a 4-inch touchscreen. It allows you to see alarm suggestions based on your daily routines, wake up with auto-adjusting screen brightness and animations, and control your smart home devices.
At CES, Whirlpool also previewed the new KitchenAid Smart Display with the Google Assistant, which guides you through cooking recipes from Yummly and simultaneously controls your smart home devices. Featuring a 10-inch display, the KitchenAid Smart Display is water resistant, for when things get really messy during cooking.
Listening to music and podcasts is one of the most popular ways people use the Google Assistant, so Google is bringing the Assistant to the Sonos One and Sonos Beam (earlier speaker models will be updated to work with the Assistant). With the Assistant built in, you’ll be able to control your music, podcasts and radio stations from all over your home without ever picking up your phone.
Later this year, the Assistant will work with even more media and entertainment devices, including TVs from Samsung. You’ll be able to use your voice to turn on the TV, change volume and channels, and switch between inputs. DISH’s Hopper family of receivers will also now have the Google Assistant built in, so you can search for content based on channel, title, actor or genre, as well as check the weather or control other connected devices in your home, using your DISH voice remote. And, this week at CES, Google's partners launching and showcasing Android TV devices with the Google Assistant include Sony, Hisense, Philips, TCL, Skyworth, Xiaomi, Haier, Changhong and JVC. Several of these devices will be enabled with far field microphones that allow the Assistant to pick up your voice even with noise in the room or on the TV.
The Assistant works with over 1,600 home automation brands and more than 10,000 devices. At CES, Google is working with even more brands to launch new smart home devices this year, including select Whirlpool connected appliances, GE’s smart microwave and August security products.
And there’s a new Assistant feature with Philips Hue that helps you wake up. Simply turn on “Gentle Wake Up” and the lights in your bedroom simulate the sunrise 30 minutes before your morning alarm goes off, to help you wake up and feel more energized.
Starting to roll out today, the Assistant can help you navigate in Google Maps for Android and iOS. With just your voice, you'll be able to share your ETA with friends and family, reply to text messages, play music and podcasts, search for places along your route, add a new stop and auto-punctuate your message.
On Android, the Assistant works with messaging services from the following providers: SMS, WhatsApp, Messenger, Hangouts, Viber, Telegram, Android Messages and more. And when you’re driving, the Assistant automatically calculates your ETA from Google Maps if you want to send your arrival time to friends. Just say “Hey Google, take me home,” to open Google Maps and get help from your Assistant on your journey.
Google is also working with Anker and JBL to build the Assistant into car accessories. Anker Roav Bolt and JBL Link Drive plug into your car’s socket, so you can connect your phone to your car’s stereo via Bluetooth or AUX. Once the accessories are connected in your car, you can use the Assistant hands-free, without having to unlock your phone. These accessories simplify audio input/output and allow the Assistant to hear you clearly, even if there’s loud music or conversations happening. Also previewed at CES is the HumX by Verizon, another car accessory with the Google Assistant built in that lets you pull your vehicle’s diagnostics with just your voice.
Soon, you’ll be able to check in to your flight (starting first with domestic flights with United Airlines), save and retrieve your boarding pass, all with the Google Assistant on Android or iOS. Just say, “Hey Google, check in to my flight”—there’s no need to remember your confirmation number. The Assistant will also notify you when your flight is ready for check-in. And if you know where you want to stay, you can book a room using the Google Assistant with partners like Choice Hotels, AccorHotels, InterContinental Hotels Group, Priceline, Expedia, Mirai and Travelclick - an Amadeus company. We’re also adding support for Google Keep,
After opting-in through your settings, the Assistant can respond to you even when your Android phone is locked. You can ask your Google Assistant to show restaurants nearby, set up and dismiss alarms, schedule reminders and timers without unlocking your phone. You can also opt in to see answers to personal queries, like traffic updates to work or calendar updates. Currently available for Pixel users, this feature is coming to all Android devices in the next few weeks.
With Interpreter Mode, a new feature rolling out over the next few weeks on Google Home devices and Smart Displays, you can ask the Google Assistant to help you have a conversation in dozens of languages. Just say “Hey Google, be my French interpreter” to start Interpreter Mode and get real-time spoken and (on Smart Displays) written translation to aid the conversation.