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Google Assistant


Google may soon let us pick which cards show up in Assistant's Snapshot

It's been years since Google started migrating the good ol' Google Now functionality into Assistant. Over time, the feed of relevant contextual cards has had many official names ranging from Your Stuff to Upcoming to Snapshot, and even more unofficial names (inbox, updates, dashboard). One thing remained unchanged though, and that's the fact that you couldn't customize a thing about it. This is changing soon, hopefully.

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Broadcasting messages to a single Google or Nest Home is now official

It's been more than a couple of years since Google added a broadcast functionality to its Home speakers, but the feature was an all-or-nothing approach. You could either send the message to all speakers in a home or none at all. After two limited test rollouts, Google has now finally formally announced the option to broadcast to a single speaker or room, an improvement we've wanted for more than two years. The feature is rolling out on Assistant-enabled speakers and displays around the world, though they must be set to English for now.

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Google Assistant's Family Bell virtual nanny is now official

Google has officially introduced a neat nagging new feature for its Assistant speakers and smart displays called Family Bell, starting to roll out today. If you're the kind of person who often forgets to eat or sleep on time, who procrastinates a lot, works for hours and forgets to stretch their legs, or otherwise misses the regular time cues of a normal day, you'll be able to rely on Assistant to remind you of all of them. Consider it a virtual parent or nanny living inside your speakers and always looking out for your best interest.

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The new Google Assistant will soon support German, French, Spanish, and Italian

As part of today's Pixel 4a festivities, Google has snuck in a few other announcements as well. On top of the expansion of Live Caption, the snazzy new Assistant that debuted with the Pixel 4 is getting support for four more languages — eventually. German, French, Spanish, and Italian will all be getting the faster on-device version "soon."

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Google rolls out even-better-sounding US English Assistant voices for Actions


Scheduling Google Assistant actions is now possible, albeit very difficult to set up

Assistant is one of the most convenient ways to control lights, plugs, and appliances around the house. The digital helper has gotten better over time, with the addition of routines, which can even be scheduled. Sadly, there's still no native option to program specific tasks, despite the fact that Google is working on adding this functionality soon. If you can't wait for official support, this third-party tool lets you schedule commands but it will require a lot of extra work.

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Google is working on an Assistant Chat Head bubble

One of the new features we're getting to see in Android 11 is Bubbles, a new experience for messaging that will implement chat heads at the system level. It only works with a few apps now, such as Facebook Messenger and Google's own Messages app, but a new APK teardown shows that the Google Assistant may be working on a chat head bubble of its own.

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Google Lens translation coming to Assistant for KaiOS feature phones

With Google’s backing, KaiOS has been able to deliver a host of smartphone-like apps and services to its feature phone users who aren’t just ready to make the jump yet. The devices running KaiOS have so far picked up support for popular apps like WhatsApp, YouTube, Google Maps, and even Assistant, although as stripped-down versions. Google is now enhancing the Assistant’s capabilities on the OS by integrating Lens’ camera translate mode, which works with a handful of Indian languages from the get-go.

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A redesigned Google Assistant with Pixel 4-like light bar has been spotted on some phones

Google used the Pixel 4 to introduce a rethought Google Assistant design sporting new capabilities, but so far, this experience hasn't made it to any other phone. Unfortunately, that's not changing, but an Assistant redesign has popped up on other handsets that takes some cues from the light bar that decorates the bottom of the Pixel 4's screen.

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Google Reminders editing is functional again

Google has fixed a bug that hindered many people from editing their Assistant reminders for some time yesterday. It was possible to create new reminders via voice, but manual editing via the reminder overview was broken, potentially globally. Luckily, there were workarounds if you absolutely had to change something about existing reminders during the period.

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