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Google Assistant

17

Google gives Assistant smart displays improved multi-room media controls

Assistant-powered smart displays got a little bit smarter recently, as Google has just announced a brand new media view for its Nest Hub displays. In our testing, the feature is also live for at least some other non-Nest smart displays already, bringing you a clear view of which devices in which rooms are playing media, plus granular speaker controls, a global pause button, and fully remote media control.

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66

Google Assistant routines haven't worked on Android Auto for over a year, still no fix in sight (Update: Google acknowledges)

Assistant's features are far from consistent across platforms and have been like that since the service's launch. Some commands work on phones but not speakers, others vice-versa, not to mention smartwatches, TVs, cars, Bluetooth headsets, and other types of devices. Here's another example of this fragmentation: Routines aren't working on Auto. In fact they haven't been supported for over a year and there's no solution on the horizon.

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12

Guest Mode disappears from Google Home speakers, remains available on Chromecasts for now

Guest mode is one of the Chromecast's relatively unknown but very handy features. It uses location proximity and WiFi availability to allow guests to cast content to your speakers or TVs without logging in to your WiFi network, provided they have the specific PIN code for that device. Whether you're throwing a party or have temporary visitors and you don't want to bother with sharing WiFi access, you can simply give them a 4-digit code and let them choose the media that gets played. The feature launched in December of 2014 on Chromecasts and carried over to Google Homes — because they're essentially cast targets.

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7

Every product with Google Assistant announced at CES 2020

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Smart home products are becoming the main attractions at CES shows. Last year saw an explosion of Google Assistant-powered devices being revealed, and while CES 2020 wasn't quite as intense in that regard, this was still a big week for Google's virtual helper.

All the product announcements during CES can be overwhelming, so for your reading convenience, we've compiled a big list of all the new products with Google Assistant. There's something for everyone, no matter if you're interested in headphones, home security, or... sink faucets. No, really.

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48

Google announces scheduled actions for Assistant, plus a handful of other new features

As part of its CES announcements, Google is taking the wraps off a bunch of new and upcoming Assistant functionality, like the ability to schedule actions, a new "Read It" command that dictates text content like news in a more natural voice, plus new Smart Display features like sticky notes and speed dial. While much of it won't land until a nebulous date "later this year," it gives us a peek at what to expect from the Assistant in 2020, and a reference for when Google re-announces half of it as new later once it's been in silent public testing for a couple months.

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12

Belkin's Soundform Elite is a Google Assistant smart speaker and wireless charger in one

If there's one thing that is guaranteed to be at any CES show, it's smart speakers (and TVs). The latest speaker to be announced is the Soundform Elite by Belkin, a Google Assistant-powered smart speaker and wireless charger in a single unit.

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1

Harman Kardon expands Assistant speaker range with portable Citation 200, MultiBeam 700 soundbar, and more

High-end audio brand Harman Kardon is owned by Samsung these days, but it's still capable of some fine hardware, as I discovered when I reviewed the Citation One speaker about this time last year. It's part of a wider range of Google Assistant-enabled products that sound much better than most other smart speakers, which is now being expanded with several new devices.

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47

Tech giants including Amazon, Apple, and Google come together to establish new smart home standard

Modern "smart" home standards have more than a few dumb things about them, like the fact that certain hardware often locks you into a specific ecosystem of supported devices and software. If something works with Alexa, it doesn't always mean that it will work with the Assistant or Siri, and that's not even mentioning the whole obnoxiousness of "hubs." Thankfully, a new open standard is being developed by some of the biggest names in the smart home industry, with Amazon, Apple, and Google all backing a new open-source approach via the imaginatively titled "Project Connected Home over IP." It's a complicated-sounding name, but what really matters is the fact that future smart home products will be more inter-compatible and secure.

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41

The new Google Assistant can directly control Chrome on the Pixel 4 (Update: More actions)

One of the promises of the new Assistant, as it was demo'ed by Google at I/O, is its direct integration with several apps on your phone. Instead of being an Assistant for Google's services first and foremost, the digital helper would put its smarts at every developer's disposal, letting them hook it up to several actions inside their apps. We've already gotten a small preview of this integration when we saw a few actions Assistant could perform inside Photos, Messages, WhatsApp, YouTube, Gmail, Maps, and Chrome. But we know there's more potential there, and Chrome is one of the first to implement broader support for Assistant, with direct browser actions accessible through voice commands.

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4

Google Assistant can help you keep on top of your stock portfolio

Whether you have a retirement account that you've set and forgotten or are an active investor making orders at your coffee table, it'd be handy to check up on your portfolio and get things done right from your smart speaker. Google has just made it easy to do with new brokerage services listed right in the Google Account settings.

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