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Google Assistant

84

Google Assistant's Home control now directly supports over 65 partners

It feels like only yesterday that Google Home launched with support for a few select services. If memory serves me well, those were Nest, Hue, SmartThings, and IFTTT. It took a while for Home to add its next batch of services (Wink, WeMo, Honeywell), but oh how they grow up so fast! Suddenly, it was an onslaught of new partners and services and we could barely keep up.

Neither could Google, apparently, because its support page for partners and services on Google Home only lists 32 companies in the "Smart Home" category. But there are twice as many if you head over to the Home control section of your Google Home app.

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7

Logitech Circle cameras now support Google Assistant and Chromecast streaming

Logitech's Circle cameras have a few new tricks today, but they're tricks we've seen before. Alphabet subsidiary Nest took the stage at the recent Google hardware event to show off some new features that plug into the Google ecosystem. It demoed the ability to stream camera feeds to a Chromecast device, and now Logitech can do the same with Circle. That certainly didn't take long.

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22

Lynky is the first Google Assistant-enabled touchscreen smart home hub

Amazon may have been first to the touchscreen assistant punch with the Echo Show, but there's compelling evidence to suggest that Google is readying a Home device with a display, too. In the meantime, another company is offering the first Google Assistant-enabled touchscreen home hub, and it's called Lynky.

The diminutive device includes a 5" multi-touch display, with two far-field microphones and 2W stereo speakers. Two versions are available. One can sit on a flat surface and is powered by USB. The other is to be mounted to a wall where it can be hooked up to pre-existing light switch wiring.

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8

YouTube TV playback controls arrive on the Google Home

There are just a handful of video services that support voice controls on the Google Home, like Netflix and Google Photos. This allows you to start playback of content on a Chromecast, Android TV, or other Cast-enabled device using Google Assistant voice commands. I'm still waiting for Hulu to add support, but in the meantime, you can now use it with YouTube TV.

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38

Mobvoi launches pre-sale for the TicHome Mini, its Google Assistant-powered portable speaker

Back in the summer, Google announced that we would be seeing Google Assistant-powered speakers this fall from a range of third-party manufacturers, including Sony, Panasonic, Anker, and Mobvoi. So far, only Sony's offering is available for purchase, but today Mobvoi is joining in by putting the TicHome Mini speaker up for pre-sale.

First announced at IFA 2017 in Berlin, the device is small and portable, with a handy carrying strap. It has all the functionality you would expect from an Assistant-powered device, essentially making it a Google Home that you can take with you as you move around your house.

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26

Google Home now has a sleep timer to turn your music off

With the introduction of the Home Mini and Home Max, there are now three types of Assistant-powered hardware from Google. The Assistant is already very capable, but that isn't stopping the team from continuing to add useful features. At Google's event earlier in the month we learned that Google Home can now easily find your phone, and it also recently added the ability to turn off your Chromecast-connected TV.

The latest addition to Google Home's feature set is a new type of timer. It's already possible to set timers for things like cooking or game time, but we can now also set a sleep timer that will stop your music playing at a given point in time.

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57

Google Assistant gets playful with new Halloween-themed Easter eggs

Google Assistant doesn't need to do a whole lot more to earn the "spooky" tag, but that's not stopping the team behind it from trying — but this time for smiles, not shivers. The virtual assistant is now equipped with interactive, intentionally humorous responses to some Halloween-related questions and commands.

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60

Google Assistant now sounds more natural thanks to DeepMind's WaveNet technology

When Google acquired British artificial intelligence startup DeepMind back in 2014 nobody was really sure why. It was a secretive company without any consumer-facing products, but it clearly had some technology of interest in Mountain View. DeepMind is now part of the wider Alphabet structure, and now a little bit more is known about what goes on there, including the work it does for Google.

One of the latest projects to come out of DeepMind is called WaveNet, a deep neural network for generating more natural artificial speech recordings, and its use case at Google is obvious. Google Assistant should sound much more human now that WaveNet has been incorporated into it.

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41

Google Assistant shortcuts can make your Home say anything

Back in May, Google Assistant added support for shortcuts, allowing you to say one thing and have Assistant perform another command. For example, I set "night" as a shortcut for starting ambient noise on my Google Home. But you can just as easily have fun with it, when combined with Assistant's 'repeat after me' command.

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49

Here are all the new Home and Assistant-related features that Google announced at its October 4th event

Google revealed a lot of products at its San Francisco event on October 4th, namely the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2XL, the Home Mini, and the Home Max. There were also software features announced for Google Assistant and Home products, but there were so many that they're hard to keep track of. So if you ever need to dig up that one specific Assistant feature from the event, you can find it here.

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