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Google Assistant


Google Assistant's 'Pretty Please' will encourage kids to be polite

You don't have to be nice to AI assistants. As long as they can understand you, they'll generally do what you ask, regardless of how you ask it. Some parents have been concerned that that might encourage their kids to be rude and demanding to actual people, so Google came up with a way to safeguard against that. It's called Pretty Please.

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Google introduces 6 new voices for Assistant, plus John Legend is coming later this year

WaveNet technology from Alphabet research company DeepMind has been used to make the Google Assistant sound more natural since last year. It uses a deep neural network to generate more human sounding speech recordings, and because of that, the Assistant is much more pleasant to converse with. There have only been two voices to choose from until now, but Sundar Pichai has just announced at Google I/O 2018 that six more are available, as of today.

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Android Automotive gets Play Store and Assistant, Android Auto will have enhanced capabilities

Google is gearing up for a lot of announcements tomorrow at I/O, but it looks like the company is ready to start sharing ahead of time a little bit of car-related news. It is announcing enhancements to the Android Automotive platform, though that's still a couple of years away from reality, and new capabilities for Android Auto.

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New Assistant features are rolling out on Wear OS

A few days ago, Google announced new features coming to Assistant on Wear OS and now they've started to roll out. We're not sure if this is a server-side update or if it's related to a Google app update on your watch. When I tried Assistant this morning, I saw the old interface, then the Google app on my watch updated to version I tested Assistant immediately after and it was still the same, but one minute later, I had the new interface.

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Google commemorates May the 4th by integrating Fandango into Assistant

Google's no stranger to Star Wars-themed May the 4th promotions. Last year Android Pay offered dancing bugdroids with your purchase, and this year it's pushing discounted content on Google Play. But that's not all Google has planned for the date, the Assistant is also getting some Star Wars day love. Google's using Disney's corporate holiday as an opportunity to remind you that its Assistant can display showtimes when asked, now with Fandango-integrated checkout and seat selection.

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Amazon Alexa supports 12000 smart home devices, way more than Google Assistant's 5000

There's no denying that Amazon's Alexa has a leg up on Google's Assistant, both because its smart speakers launched before Google and because Amazon has a huge footing in retail and the best marketing platform ever. Google can only dream of rivaling that. Plus, if you're a company making a smart home product, odds are you're already selling it through Amazon, and the jump from that to adding Alexa compatibility is just a formality at this point. The lead Amazon has taken over Google in the smart home is most apparent when you look at the number of supported devices, and now we have a more accurate picture.

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Google rolls out new Assistant features to Wear OS

Google ignored Android Wear for a long time, but now it's got a new name and some new features. The next step in Google's quest to keep Wear OS from dying is to enhance Assistant. In the coming days, you'll be able to access more Assistant Actions and get contextual suggestions when you interact with the watch. It'll also talk, at least sometimes.

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Google Assistant now works with 5000 devices, direct Logitech Harmony and DISH control coming, security systems, and more

Support for the Google Assistant is ramping up from major and minor smart home device makers alike. It was only this January that we reported the Assistant had support for 1500 devices, but now that number has jumped, nay, soared to 5000 devices. Along with that happy threshold comes the news of many other upcoming integrations for our favorite smart home assistant.

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Google is investing in startups that will enhance the Assistant ecosystem

The Google Assistant has come a long way in a short space of time, so far in fact that it's probably the most capable digital assistant around at the moment. However, the competition from Amazon's Alexa is stiff, and it's probably in more homes, so Google knows it mustn't rest on its laurels. To that end, it's opening a new investment program especially for startups who will drive the Assistant ecosystem forward.

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AutoVoice 3.5 lets you create your own custom Assistant actions and even replace Google's

Joaomgcd's AutoVoice app is one of the most powerful tools you can try on Android for customizing your Google Assistant commands, especially when used in conjunction with Tasker (which he recently acquired as well). Most recently, the app added Google Assistant integration with v3.0, and now v3.5 is kicking that up a notch by letting you customize what you can ask Assistant and what it answers back.

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