Android Police

Google Assistant

16

Google Assistant spotted playing dress-up, hinting at Android 12 theme support

Google Assistant spotted playing dress-up, hinting at Android 12 theme support

A new, seemingly themed Google Assistant interface has been spotted in the wild. The images of it in action are incredibly garish, and though it probably isn't working as designed, the change is plausible given what we know of Android 12's upcoming theme support. The images also show off the anticipated "my actions" Assistant feature previously spotted in development.

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7

We're this close to smart home hardware actually just working right

We're this close to smart home hardware actually just working right

In December of 2019, several of the biggest companies in tech — including Apple, Google, and Amazon — joined the Zigbee Alliance to establish a new standard for smart home technology. Project Connected Home over IP, or "CHIP," was aimed at improving interoperability and increasing security between gadgets from different brands. CHIP is finally nearing completion, and it's getting a new name and logo to help consumers identify secure IoT tech.

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5

Google Assistant reshuffles its settings menu for new features

Google Assistant reshuffles its settings menu for new features

Give Google enough time, and it'll turn any of its apps into a messaging one. Google Assistant was the latest to receive this treatment, and it now allows messages to be broadcasted to smartphones. In recognition of this development, the app is getting a renamed "Communication" menu.

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19

Google Assistant continues to mean well with socially relevant, utterly cringeworthy songs

Google Assistant continues to mean well with socially relevant, utterly cringeworthy songs

The Google Assistant team seems to enjoy coming up with little ditties that its AI voice helper can sing to you, whether it's about washing your hands, Halloween, New Year, or wearing a mask. This latest number is all about encouraging us to take the vaccine — an important topic, but it's not Google's best musical work, I must say.

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19

Google wants you to use the Assistant as yet another messaging app

Google wants you to use the Assistant as yet another messaging app

Google I/O is inching closer, but Google is already on an announcement spree. After teasing some launcher improvements coming to tablets and giving us a first glimpse at its response to Apple's Privacy Labels, the company is now getting ready to share some Assistant updates. For one, Assistant Broadcasts can now reach family members even when they're not home, but there's much more than just that.

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35

Tip: Google can read out loud almost any story on your Android phone

Tip: Google can read out loud almost any story on your Android phone

The internet is filled with great written content, but sometimes, you just don't have the time to read everything yourself. That's where a handy but rather hidden Google Assistant feature comes in. When you invoke the Assistant while looking at an article and say something like "Read it," "Read this page," or "Read it to me," it will give you an audiobook version of the content you're seeing. You can even try that with the text right here.

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17

Google Assistant can now correctly set timers or alarms even after you flub a voice command

Google Assistant can now correctly set timers or alarms even after you flub a voice command

How often do you use Google Assistant for an alarm or a timer, only to instantly second-guess yourself and mess up the command? Then you have to go back and erase the original one and do it over, all with somewhat awkward voice controls. Google's working on it, using some slick new technology that will make up for your lack of eloquence.

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19

Soon you'll be able teach Assistant to pronounce your friends' names right

Soon you'll be able teach Assistant to pronounce your friends' names right

If you have a name that's not common in your default language, you know how weird it can be to hear it spoken back in speech-to-text. Google Assistant is a pretty good example of that in action, and of how it's becoming a more common problem as more and more of our tech gains voice powers. But thanks to some recent improvements, Assistant should be better at handling unusual names and spellings in the future.

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4

You probably forgot the Assistant could read websites to you, but the feature just got a new look

You probably forgot the Assistant could read websites to you, but the feature just got a new look

Google constantly experiments with the UI of its applications. While some changes go down well with users, others — like the recent redesign of the YouTube resolution picker — spark criticism. The latest product to get a makeover is Google Assistant's web page reading tool that reads articles and other text on websites out loud for you.

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25

Google is working on a way to make automating Assistant easier for the rest of us

Google is working on a way to make automating Assistant easier for the rest of us

Google Assistant is arguably the best voice assistant on a smartphone right now — from making restaurant reservations to holding calls for you, it can do so much. But if you're not in the mood for talking, an upcoming feature will give you a handy, speech-less way of getting Assistant to help you out.

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