Logitech announced today that its UE Boom 2 and Megaboom speakers are being updated to add support for Google Now voice interactions. To use it, just press the Bluetooth button, and I'll let Engadget's explainer take away the rest:
Just do a quick press of the small Bluetooth button on the top of the speaker and wait to hear the audible prompt, which is the same as when you say "OK Google" or press the microphone icon for voice control on your phone. Both the Bluetooth button and the power button will flash during this interaction. If you're playing music while dropping into voice control functionality, it will pause and listen for your inquiry. You can ask to play a specific song or inquire if there are any restaurants nearby and the system will respond confirming the song play request or, in the second instance, provide details and offer a few next steps, listening for additional responses. via Engadget
Unfortunately, I don't have a Boom 2 or Megaboom to test with, but Engadget's hands-on tends to confirm what I'd expect of the experience: interacting with Google Now as a contextual voice assistant is pretty hit or miss. Google Now is very good at certain voice inquiries, but it clearly hasn't been built for use exclusively without on-screen visual cues for more complicated tasks, like finding a restaurant. For simple tasks like phone calls, sending messages, and basic Google search inquiries that lead to a knowledge graph answer, though, this could be handy.
Presumably this works through Google Now's standard Bluetooth device interaction capabilities, though it was generally my understanding that this voice input method was primarily meant for headsets with the screen on in front of you - at least for more complex tasks (i.e., not basic telephony) - as opposed to a sort of would-be Alexa replacement. But hey, maybe if and when Google Assistant features roll out, these Logitech speakers could become a poor man's Google Home.
Oh, the speakers also do this with Siri, apparently. If you're into that. The feature is apparently activated via the respective UE Boom and Megaboom apps, so check them for updates on your smartphone.
ULTIMATE EARS NOW LETS YOU SAY IT TO PLAY IT
UE Speakers with Siri and Google Now Voice Integration Let Music Fans Easily Access Music Faster
NEWARK, Calif. — June 21, 2016 — Today, Ultimate Ears wants you to speak up and use your voice by introducing Siri® and Google Now™ voice integration on UE BOOM 2 and UE MEGABOOM. Now, music fans can simply say it to play it, allowing them to stay connected in the moment by providing faster, easier access to their music using Siri and Google Now voice directly from their Ultimate Ears speakers. The new push-to-talk feature brings even more convenience to UE’s award winning on-the-go Bluetooth® speakers.
From cliff to cave, Ultimate Ears’ speakers are meant to be with you, wherever, whenever. They’re waterproof (IPX7), rugged and blast incredible 360-degree sound. This latest integration amps up the possibilities of where you can take your music and how easily you can access it all. “Music lovers can now truly stay in the moment, playing their favorite song from the middle of the pool or even while diving off a cliff with their UE speaker in hand,” said Charlotte Johs, general manager of Ultimate Ears. “No matter how wet, muddy or wild the situation, with Siri and Google Now voice integration on UE BOOM 2 and UE MEGABOOM, fans no longer need to pick up their phone to play DJ. Now, they can just say it to play it.”
Gone are the days of hunting down your favorite song on your phone as this new voice integration provides access to tunes in just a couple of seconds. Through a quick push of the Bluetooth button and a simple voice request, you can quickly get the party started and never miss a beat.
Pricing and Availability
Siri and Google Now voice integration is available on UE BOOM 2 ($199.99) and UE MEGABOOM ($299.99) through the free UE BOOM and UE MEGABOOM apps. The app enhancement is available through the iOS® and Android™ app stores on June 21. Speakers are sold separately. For more information, please visit www.ultimateears.com/voice-integration.