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Google Assistant

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[Update: Screenshots] Google Assistant updates might soon live on the Ambient Display

Google Assistant has quickly grown from a simple voice control app to a full-blown product that encompasses many elements of Google's software strategy, proactively providing people with data about themselves. After showing off the super-fast, hardware-specific next-gen Assistant at I/O, Google is still looking to improve the experience for everyone. It appears that the company is working on bringing Assistant updates to the Ambient Display.

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3

Get two Google Homes for $99 at Target and save a total of $40

Could the original, stalwart Google Home be due for a refresh soon? We sure have been seeing a lot of deals for the speaker lately, which still sounds good and is capable of all the Assistant commands you could think of. Target is now offering a two-pack of Google Homes for $99, available through Tuesday night.

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99

The best smart home devices you can buy right now (Summer 2019)

Worldwide sales of voice assistant smart speakers from Google, Amazon, and others continue to grow, and the same can be said of the smart home sector as a whole. The technology underpinning these products is always improving and it’s becoming increasingly affordable to bring smart gadgets into your house.

There's already such a vast number of different products from various companies out there that it's hard to know which ones are the best, so we've put together this list with some of our favorites.

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112

Claims Google is 'eavesdropping' on your Google Home are a lot less exciting than they sound

Smart speakers add a layer of convenience to a household, but have you ever thought of them as planting a mole into your own living room? Back in April, Amazon admitted its employees reviewed anonymized recordings in order to improve its speech recognition system. Now a fresh controversy has emerged around Google and its Assistant, where the company confirms doing the very same — but there's still no need to worry.

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47

The JBL Link Bar is finally available for purchase

JBL and Google announced the Link Bar more than a year ago, but the first sound bar with Android TV built in didn't launch on time. In fact, it has been pushed back repeatedly from late 2018, to spring 2019, and finally to summer. And here we are—the Link Bar appears to finally be live on JBL's site for $399.95.

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38

[Update: Dev Preview] Google's speakers and displays add local control of smart home devices, starting with Hue, TP-Link, more

For years we've dreamed of the smart home, but when we anticipated it, we didn't really picture a dozen hubs littered all over our house that do nothing but control only one type of device. Sadly, that's the truth we've come to. But Google seems to be taking the first steps to remedy this situation, starting with opening local control of smart devices to all developers and smart home manufacturers.

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4

Google Assistant for TVs now speaks Italian and Japanese

Google Assistant isn't only available on Android TV, but also on select television sets with other operating systems. For example, it's quite capable on recent LG devices. However, in contrast to the Assistant on phones and smart home gadgets, language support is relatively limited on TVs. That's why it's nice to see that Google has added support for Italian and Japanese on devices without Android TV.

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25

Google Assistant tests more compact interface ahead of next generation update

During I/O 2019, Google announced changes to the Assistant that would see significant speed improvements thanks to on-device transcription and operation. These changes were said to come "later this year," which likely meant around the same time as the Pixel 4 launch. In the meantime, Google has been testing changes to the Assistant interface, including a Holo-esque design and now, a compact look.

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8

Smart Clocks gain support for French and German, as Lenovo expands sales

With its Smart Clock, Lenovo introduced a new type of Asssitant-enabled smart display. Unfortunately, it could only speak English when it came out, as it runs off a custom Android Things platform, which is different from the one used by Lenovo Smart Displays and Nest Hubs. However, Google just updated its official Assistant support pages to indicate the device now supports French and German.

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17

The Lenovo Smart Clock is already $60 ($20 off) from Walmart

The Lenovo Smart Clock is more or less a Google Home Mini with a screen and some added alarm functionality. It's a decent little device, but the initial price of $80 was somewhat ridiculous especially when you could buy a Google Nest Hub for even less. Just a month after its release, the Smart Clock has now dropped to $59.99.

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