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Google Assistant

22

Google Assistant gets granular, well-organized notification controls (Update: Rolling out widely)

Google Assistant isn't only good at answering your questions and orders. It also proactively sends you notifications on flights, public transport updates, packages, upcoming events, and more. To personalize which of these you receive, you usually have to head to the Google app's App info -> Notifications section. That's not very intuitive, and the amount of Assistant options there is limited. In a change that's already rolling out to first people, Google has moved the notification controls to a more prominent place right inside the Assistant's settings and has added many more granular toggles.

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106

The best smart home devices you can buy right now (Spring 2020)

Millions of homes now contain a smart assistant speaker of some variety and sales of IoT products continue to grow as the market matures and prices come down across the sector. With so many options available, it's hard to know what to buy, and that's where we come in — this is a selection of our favorite smart home gadgets. Whether you want to just dip your toes in the water with a cheap Google Nest Mini or dive into the deep end with smart lights, cameras, thermostats, doorbells, and so on — we’ve got you covered.

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13

Get two Google Homes and a Nest Mini for an insanely low $99 ($148 off)

Being quarantined might make you realize you're missing a couple of smart speakers at home. Whether you want to set up a new infrastructure or extend the existing one, this insane deal lets you grab three speakers for just $99. The package includes two Google Homes, as well as a free Nest Mini, which would typically cost $247 when sold separately.

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25

Google Assistant has a horrible song to help make sure you wash your hands long enough

As the spread of the novel coronavirus continues, health officials have one advisory above all others: you need to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds to make sure they're virus-free. Google's getting in on that action: you can now ask the Assistant for help washing your hands to hear a terrible song about it.

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7

Google Assistant can now send Line messages

Assistant is a convenient way of interacting with your phone when your hands aren't free, especially when driving or cooking. Google's helper can already send messages over native and third-party apps, such as WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram, and WeChat. The service just got the ability to do so with Line, too, making it easier for users to keep in touch with friends without touching their device.

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28

G Suite users are starting to get the Pixel 4's new Google Assistant (Update: Full rollout)

After launching with a tons of little restrictions, the new Google Assistant interface is spreading to more and more devices. It's no longer restricted to US English, has added Japanese support, and doesn't require gesture navigations anymore. Another limitation is now slowly being abolished: incompatibility with G Suite accounts.

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63

Google rolls out redesigned, reorganized Assistant updates tab (Updated)

Google's new, less intrusive Assistant is already available on the Pixel 4, but the redesign it received has mostly affected the voice command interface. The updates tab, Google Now's spiritual successor, kept the same look. Now, Google appears to be testing an overhauled dashboard with more gradients and chronological organization.

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16

Google Assistant finally supports sensors and smoke detectors, paving the way for smarter alerts and automations

One of the cornerstones of the smart home are automations that get triggered based on certain conditions. SmartThings, Wink, and other hubs built their whole proposition on top of that, but then voice assistants came and shook that foundation. Voice commands, and thus active requests, became the focus, but that didn't stop everyone from bemoaning the loss of passive automations. To implemented that functionality you need sensors, and Google Assistant is finally adding native support for them.

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10

B&O's new Beosound Balance speaker has Google Assistant and a $2,250 price tag

Audiophiles have long been happy to spend what most of us would consider obscene amounts of money on speakers, and these ultra-premium products are slowly adopting "smart" features like Google Assistant. Bang & Olufsen has a new Assistant-powered speaker called the Beosound Balance. It'll cost you $2,250, but it probably sounds pretty good.

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29

John Legend's Google Assistant cameo voice goes away March 23

Not even a year after the great John Legend lent his voice to Google Assistant, it's been made clear that his graces are indeed only temporary. Google has announced that his cameo voice will no longer be available from March 23.

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