Android Police

Google Assistant

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(Update: Humidifiers and dehumidifiers too) You can now ask Assistant to fill up your bathtub or close your faucet

When Google launched Assistant, it was criticized for working with fewer smart devices than Alexa. The company rapidly showered us with support for many more products, though, and has recently introduced compatibility with mops, microwaves, and showers. Until today, though, Assistant couldn't natively work with your entire bathroom. Google is now righting this wrong by bringing native support for bathtubs and faucets; hot!

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31

Lenovo Smart Clock down to just $40 (50% off)

If you're looking for an Assistant-powered smart display but need something slightly smaller than a Nest Hub, the Lenovo Smart Clock is worth considering. However, its $80 launch price was way too high for it to make sense. Thankfully, the manufacturer realized its product was too expensive and started selling it for $20 less. That markdown was apparently not enough, as the Lenovo Smart Clock has dropped to just $40, which is half its original MSRP.

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6

Paid Google Assistant radio services starting to roll out, beginning with SiriusXM

You've been able to listen to the radio via the Google Assistant for quite some time already — in fact, Home devices have supported TuneIn since launch. The company is now adding an option to integrate paid radio services such as SiriusXM to the Assistant by rolling out a dedicated radio section in the Assistant's Services tab.

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52

Hackers can hijack your Google Home or Amazon Echo with freakin' laser beams

Google's smart home speakers already don't have the best privacy-conscious track record. Back in 2017, our very own Artem Russakovskii had his Home Mini record every word he said for days on end, resulting in Google permanently removing top touch functionality from all Home Minis. Even when hotword functionality is working as intended, we often assume that a user has to be within earshot to actually control one of these devices. It turns out that's not the case, thanks to a new hack that uses laser beams to remotely interact with smart speakers.

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51

Google Home app 2.15 gets a simpler UI, new media playback cards, and event history (Update: swipe gesture)

During its Pixel event, Google teased a slightly redesigned Google Home app with a new Nest Aware feed. We've been waiting for it to roll out to our devices and now it has as part of v2.15 of the Home app. Along with it we're getting the new Cast media UI that was leaked several weeks ago.

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4

Assistant on Smart Displays can now listen for and speak Italian

Until recently, you could only officially talk to Google Assistant on your Smart Display in nine languages. With the addition of Italian, we're now at ten.

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6

Spotify's Behind the Lyrics roll out to Google Nest Hubs and other Smart Displays

One of the major benefits of having a smart display instead of a speaker is seeing relevant controls and information on the screen. For music, that means album art, playback controls, videos if available, and most importantly, lyrics. On Google Assistant smart displays, only titles from Google Play Music showed lyrics, but that's now rolling out to Spotify as well.

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33

Google tests redesigned, reorganized Assistant updates tab

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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17

(Update: Back in English) Google takes down AutoVoice Assistant action, but there's a workaround

AutoVoice is a powerful tool developed by the maintainer of Tasker, João Dias. It lets you trigger Tasker and IFTTT recipes with your voice, so you can easily start complicated workflows involving multiple smart home devices with a simple phrase. Unfortunately, there seems to be some misunderstanding between Google and the developer. The AutoVoice Assistant action is currently not available because the company griped with the description of the service.

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22

Google Assistant receives SiriusXM integration

SirusXM is best known as a broadcast provider for satellite radios in cars, but the company expanded its business to smartphones long ago and recently bought the streaming platform Pandora. Now SiriusXM has teamed up with Google to bring its lineup of radio stations to the Assistant across all of Google's devices. This should drastically expand the number of radio stations available on the company's smart home speakers.

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