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Google Assistant

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Google Assistant gets a dedicated Purchases page

A few weeks ago, Cody uncovered signs that the Google Assistant settings would get a new page dedicated to Purchases. Now the page is live for all of us at Android Police.

If you head over to the Assistant settings or to the Google Home app and tap More settings in the side menu, then scroll down, you'll see a new Purchases option between Shopping list and Shortcuts. It's there on all of our devices, so this seems to be a wide rollout. However, since the page is dedicated to purchases made through Assistant, none of us can see anything in it.

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[Update x2: All 6 now live] Google Assistant will have 6 routines at launch and each one has a limited set of actions

We've been hearing about Google Assistant's routines for months now. Cody first discovered them in a Google app teardown last September, then they were officially announced in October, but Google was mum about them until last month when it said routines will launch "in the coming weeks in the US." A few weeks have passed since then, so it's about time we start seeing these routines for real.

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LG ThinQ Google Assistant Smart Display (WK9) up for pre-order for $297, its smart speaker (WK7) for $197

Right at the end of 2017, and prior to CES 2018, LG announced a new Google Assistant speaker as part of its ThinQ smart lineup. Then, at CES, the company followed up by adding the ThinQ View (pictured above), its own take on Google's Smart Displays with Assistant integrated. At the time, the pricing and availability of these wasn't clear. Now, we know just a little bit more.

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शाबाश! Google Assistant now speaks Hindi

Even though we have some gripes with it, all of us at AP love what the Google Assistant is capable of and it doesn't look like its evolution is slowing down anytime soon. At MWC, Google announced that Assistant is coming in 30 new languages over the next few months and now, Google India has unveiled that Assistant is proficient in Hindi.

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You can now set location-based reminders from Google Home

Remember how long it took Google to make reminders work on Google Home? I won't bore you by recounting the whole sage, but the wait was substantial. At least adding new reminder features isn't taking too long. We heard some weeks back about location-based reminders in Assistant for phones, but the Home release was "in the coming weeks." For once, Google actually meant "in the coming weeks." It's live right now on a Home near you.

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10 stupidly simple things I wish Google Home would do

I love my Google Home(s). I've been using two of them for nearly a year in my apartment, and they were recently augmented by a couple of JBL Link speakers with Assistant and a Google Home Mini at work. I call upon them frequently throughout the day to ask about the weather, play music, set reminders and calendar events, control my smart home devices, and more. And I have spent countless hours testing and checking everything they can do, which culminated in a very long but super detailed Google Home tutorial that I suggest you read.

However, as time passes, there are features that I find myself repeatedly yearning for.

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You can now select and copy text in Google Lens in Assistant

Google Lens has been rolling out for the past months to both the Photos app and the Assistant, but the device availability and featureset of the option have been different between the two. It looks like we're moving to some semblance of parity though, as the Assistant version of Google Lens is now capable of selecting text, just like the Photos version could starting last December.

Previously, when you tapped on text in the viewfinder of Lens, it would recognize some of the text and give you relevant answers, but wouldn't let you specifically select which part of the text you wanted to search for.

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Google Assistant shortcut app now installs on Lollipop, tablets

The Google Assistant listing on the Play Store might only be a glorified shortcut, but it's still one avenue for accessing the Assistant on supported devices. And, as of a few days ago, it was officially updated to support devices running Lollipop 5.0. Explicit Android tablet support was also added, which brings parity to today's announcement that the Google Assistant is now supported on the iPad, too. 

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Google Assistant is getting Action subscriptions, better media playback, and more

Google sometimes stealthily deploys new features here and there in Assistant without telling us, but today's update is a big one with some fanfare. There are changes on the way to media playback, Assistant-enabled devices, and subscriptions. Some of these features are rolling out now, and others will be live in the near future. It's a colossal Assistant update overall.

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Google Home calling is now live in the UK

You might think making phone calls with Google Home would be a basic function available from launch, but you'd be wrong. VoIP calling eventually came to users in the US and Canada last August, but it's eluded other regions until now. At Google's October 4th hardware last year the UK was promised similar functionality — due to go live later in the year. It's a bit late, but UK Google Home users are finally able to make hands-free calls as of today.

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