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Google Assistant

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[Update: Up for pre-order] The long-awaited Lenovo Smart Clock will likely go on sale imminently

When the Lenovo Smart Clock was unveiled at CES in January, it was hard not to want one despite the $79.99 price tag. It's a tiny smart display with a 4-inch screen made specifically for your nightstand and it's undeniably adorable. It's been pretty much radio silence since the announcement, however, with only a vague Spring arrival touted. New pages just added to the Lenovo support site suggest we won't have to wait much longer.

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2

Google Assistant rolls out to several Bose speakers and soundbars

Back in August last year, Bose unveiled two soundbars and a smart home speaker that came built-in with Alexa. This move was somewhat surprising given the company chose to integrate Assistant into the refreshed QC35, but the manufacturer did say other voice assistants would make their way to its speakers at a later stage. This is now the case, as an automatic software update brings Google’s digital helper to the Home Speaker 500, Soundbar 500, and Soundbar 700. The feature will also be available on the Home Speaker 300, a new compact product that will be available this summer.

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26

Assistant's context-aware recommendations are live for some in Messages 4.4 [APK Download]

After Google killed Allo, users lost the ability to get Assistant suggestions directly in their conversation feeds, but the company confirmed it would bring the star feature to Messages soon. Three months later, the integration is finally live, and Google's digital helper now pops up with recommendations based on your discussions.

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14

[Update: Color bulbs are out] C by GE announces new Made for Google color bulbs and accessories

C by GE already makes white, dimmable smart lights designed specifically to work with Google Home — there's even a starter kit with a Home Mini — but now the company is adding full-color LEDs to the range, along with some additional smart products.

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42

Google says Assistant is available in more than 30 languages and 80 countries, though many seem to be in beta

I/O's main keynote was a blur of announcement after announcement, so you'll forgive us if we didn't notice this two-second slide where Google's Scott Huffman showed off Assistant's worldwide expansion and explained that it was "now [...] available on over 1 billion devices, in over 30 languages, across 80 countries." We love milestones like this, but many of the countries he pointed out appear to be in beta.

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17

Google attempts to shed light on the confusing 'Works with Nest' to 'Works with Google Assistant' transition

When Google decided to deprecate its Works with Nest API, there was a litany of questions left behind of what would happen. Some of those answers came when third parties started sending notices to Nest product owners saying that their apps and routines would not work with their cameras, thermostats, and other appliances past August 31 (or earlier). At the same time, as Nest account holders begrudgingly move their roots to a Google account, there are questions as to if all the Works with Nest integrations will be carried over. Google has come back today with answers.

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91

[Update: Now in four more states] Google Duplex expands to 44 US states, coming to non-Pixel devices soon

At Google I/O last year, we got our first glimpse of Duplex, an AI that can place phone calls for you to secure dining reservations. Google rolled Duplex out in an extremely limited test late last year. Now, Duplex is coming to Pixel phones in 43 states, and non-Pixel phones will have access soon.

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43

Assistant will soon be able to turn off lights and appliances automatically when you leave home

If you ask my neighbors, they'll probably tell you they've heard me shout "OK Google; I'm leaving" at least once. This isn't because I like everybody to know I'm headed out, but rather to turn every smart device off using Assistant. You could argue that since I'm carrying my phone with me, I could set up a routine that does it for me, but I would need to do that for every single app that can control my IoT objects, and I'm not comfortable sharing my location with some of these companies. Lastly, not all of my smart plugs work with IFTTT, so that's not an option either.

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6

Google Assistant on phones now supports Simplified Chinese

Google services are blocked in mainland China, but there are still millions of Chinese speakers across the world with access to Google Assistant. Support for Traditional Chinese was added to Assistant last year, and now it works with Simplified Chinese too.

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InBrief
25

Google Assistant testing new Holo-esque translucent UI