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assistant

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[Update: Latest Google app beta update has a fix] Google Assistant on Pixel 2 is not detecting voice input through Bluetooth headphones

Most owners of OG Pixels can attest that Bluetooth on those devices is not the best. We've written a fair few articles about the various issues over the past year, but with the launch of the new Pixels we were hopeful that Google might have improved things somewhat. While Bluetooth performance so far does seem to be more consistent, we've just learned about one particularly annoying bug that Pixel 2 owners have uncovered.

According to the many posters on this Pixel User Community thread, when you connect Bluetooth headphones to a Pixel 2 or 2 XL and activate the Google Assistant, it makes a sound to indicate that it's listening but doesn't detect your voice.

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Lens in Google Assistant is rolling out widely on Pixel phones today

Google announced a few weeks ago that Lens was coming to Google Assistant, but the deployment would take some time. It's showed up sporadically for users since then, but it appears to be rolling out widely on Pixel phones today (in select markets). Open Assistant, and you may very well have the Lens button down at the bottom.

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TicHome Mini review: A worthy portable Google Home Mini alternative, as long as you don’t mind paying double

Google introduced the Assistant SDK back in April, making it possible for third parties to build the digital companion into their devices. Sure enough, at IFA 2017 in Berlin back in August, the first Google Assistant-enabled speakers were announced, due to hit the market this fall. There are now several different options from a range of manufacturers, and they cover various use cases and price points.

Other Google Home alternatives with better speakers have also been announced by the likes of Sony and Panasonic. For those on a tighter budget there’s also the Zolo Mojo from Anker. And before that has even gone on sale, Google itself launched the Google Home Mini.

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[Update: Going live "over the coming weeks"] Lens is now rolling out to Google Assistant

Lens was announced at Google I/O 2017, and began rolling out to Photos a few weeks ago. If you're not aware, Lens is a machine-learning powered spiritual successor to Google Goggles, as it can identify objects and landmarks in photos. Google said it would eventually arrive in Assistant, and now it looks like the time has come.

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Google Assistant is able to troubleshoot problems on your phone (Pixel 2 only, for now)

The Google Assistant on the Pixel 2 and 2 XL is more powerful than ever before, and it can help you do a bunch of things with your phone like change settings or initiate a conversation with support. Thanks to a whimsical request from a reader, we now know about one more ability the Assistant has.

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Vudu gains HDR video and Assistant capabilities on SHIELD

Vudu might not be the most popular video streaming service, but it's more useful on the SHIELD starting today. The app now has support for Google Assistant commands, and the SHIELD can output HDR video from Vudu. Of course, you'll need to own some HDR content on Vudu first.

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Google Assistant gets 'trending' and 'new' sections, additional subcategories, and more

Finding Assistant services can be a pain. Unless you're constantly scrolling through all the available options, you're going to miss things. Google is rolling out a number of changes to Assistant that will make it easier to find apps and services. Developers will also have a few new tools at their disposal to build Assistant apps. 

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Nexus Player gains Google Assistant functionality with November security patch

The Nexus Player, Google's first (and only) digital media player (see note) has received support for Google Assistant as part of the November security update. This is the third Android TV device to receive the Assistant, after the nVidia Shield and select Sony Bravia televisions.

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Ecobee smart thermostat gets Assistant integration

Getting up to change the temperature on your thermostat is an arduous and unpleasant task, but smart thermostats have freed us from this drudgery. Okay... but now you have to open an app and tap stuff to change the thermostat? That still seems like a lot of work, right? Google Assistant offers the ultimate in convenience (until such time as we have brain-thermostat interfaces), but not all smart thermostats support it. You can add the Ecobee to the list today, though.

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Google app v7.16 beta suggests tablet rollout coming soon, reveals Routines can run after alarms, more on Quartz and podcasts [APK Teardown]

There's a fresh version of the Google app rolling out on the beta channel right now. This one doesn't appear to put a lot of new stuff in front of us for use right now, but there are hints scattered around that tablet support is ready to launch. A teardown brings the more interesting clues, including more capabilities for Routines, additional details for the screen-enabled Google Home (i.e. Quartz), and even downloadable podcasts.

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