Android Police

Google Assistant

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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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Actions on Google open new languages (CA, IN, BR, IT, ES), better discovery, and more interactions for Assistant apps

Google Developers is rolling out a huge update to Actions on Google, the backbone through which developers can create those Assistant apps and integrations that are still a little hidden but can be very useful if you interact with your Home or phone a lot through voice. Both developers and users stand to benefit from these changes as there are a lot of improvements that will add up quickly for a better experience.

First, in terms of discovery, the Assistant's Explore tab / "app directory" will see two new sections for "What's new" and "What's trending." Now there's only a list of categories, which makes it impossible to spot popular services or new additions.

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Google Assistant now supports Singapore English on phones

Google Assistant's language support between different platforms is a confusing mess that I won't pretend to be able to understand, but the good news is that over the past year, more languages and variants have been added. We've seen Spanish and Italian recently, but today's addition is different: Assistant on phones should now work in Singapore English.

So if you live in Singapore and have set your phone to Singapore English as a language, you should start seeing Assistant soon (already?) when you tap and hold the home button on your phones, instead of the Google Now on Tap / Screen Search that was before it.

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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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[Update: Regional availability] Music recognition in Google Assistant no longer exclusive to Pixel 2, now works on more devices

Just about a month ago, the "what's this song" music identification functionality started to roll out to Assistant on both of the new Pixel 2 phones. Google's voice search (for instance, via "Google Now") had this functionality for a long time, but for whatever reason, the transition to the new Assistant stripped that feature away. Although it was back for the Pixel 2, it appears that music recognition in the Assistant is now rolling out to non-Google devices as well. 

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Sony's Android TVs now support the Google Assistant

If you're lucky enough to own a recent Sony 4K HDR set with Android TV, you now have access to the Google Assistant. As well as using it to explore video content and get information, you'll also be able to control your smart home devices, just as you can with the Assistant on your phone or a Google Home product.

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Tip: You can ask Google Home and Assistant to print your calendar, sudokus, and more

In the list of Google's Home control partners that we found a few days ago, you may notice one interesting mention: HP Printer. We're not sure how long it's been there, but as the name suggests, Google Assistant and Home can issue printing commands which work with your HP printers.

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Google Home and Android Things power these awesome Halloween trick or treat bowls

Halloween is over (sad face) but that doesn't mean we can't still enjoy its nerdy tricks and its geeky treats. Google Home already has its own Halloween tricks, but if you're an awesome dad, you'd go above and beyond that. Case in point: this set of Halloween bowls rigged by tjudkinsYT and demoed by his daughter. He's using Android Things on a Raspberry Pi and his own unpublished Action on Google (hence the "getting the test version of Trick or Treat Bowl" you hear the nice Google lady say in reply) to trigger it through Assistant on his Home Mini.

The result is all so cute.

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Canary camera integrates with Assistant, but only to provide environment info as a start

Canary has seen one pretty steep low this month after the big change in features for free users including the reduction of video recordings to a short measly 10-sec preview. But now the smart camera company is hoping to gain back some love with the introduction of its Google Assistant integration.

Starting today, you can head over to your Assistant's "Explore" section and look for Canary, or use this direct link, and connect your Canary account to Assistant. When that's done, you'll be able to ask Assistant to talk to Canary or immediately say things like, "ask Canary what's the temperature at home," or "ask Canary for the humidity in my apartment." You can also inquire about the battery life of the wireless Flex camera.

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Google Assistant's Home control now directly supports over 65 partners

It feels like only yesterday that Google Home launched with support for a few select services. If memory serves me well, those were Nest, Hue, SmartThings, and IFTTT. It took a while for Home to add its next batch of services (Wink, WeMo, Honeywell), but oh how they grow up so fast! Suddenly, it was an onslaught of new partners and services and we could barely keep up.

Neither could Google, apparently, because its support page for partners and services on Google Home only lists 32 companies in the "Smart Home" category. But there are twice as many if you head over to the Home control section of your Google Home app.

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