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Philips Hue scenes are now natively supported by Google Assistant

Back in November last year, Google added some new abilities to the Assistant, including direct control of household appliances and scene support. With the latter, you can activate or change scenes linked to things like LIFX lighting systems or a SmartThings hub using the Google Assistant. Philips Hue lighting also has scenes, but until now you've only been able to use them in the Hue app. Some are now seeing the functionality in the Google Home app, too.

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[Update: Available] Che grande! Italian Google Store shows the Google Home and Home Mini, but they're still on a waitlist

The signs have been accumulating over the past few weeks: Italian showed up among the languages supported on the Google Home, then it also was listed on third-party Assistant speakers, and just this morning plenty of Google Home support pages (like this) started saying the Home was available in Italy and speaking Italian. Now it's official: the Google Home and Home Mini are up on the Italian Google Store, but you can only sign up for the waiting list.

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Google Assistant on Wear OS now understands Spanish and Hindi

Google Assistant's language support is, to put it mildly, dumbfounding. The list of languages that you can talk to Assistant in varies between phones, tablets, smartwatches, speakers, Google Home, Allo, TVs, Autos, and every other medium you can find it on. But sooner or later, they start catching up to each other, and now two new languages are making their way to Assistant on Wear OS: Spanish and Hindi.

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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. We haven't spotted them on our phones just yet, but their support page just went live and now we know almost everything there is about them

There will be 6 routines to start: Good Morning, Bedtime, Leaving home, I'm home, Commuting to work, and Commuting home.

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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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