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Google Assistant

58

Google is rolling out super-useful assignable reminders in Assistant

It can be hard to keep up with all the features packed into Google Assistant, especially because a lot of the recent additions are underwhelming and don't get much use. Google's latest Assistant rollout is different. The new assignable reminders sound like a fun and useful feature, and they're coming your way soon. Well, in select markets.

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10

Google Assistant voice banking is being tested by NatWest, but it’s already proving cumbersome

Google pictures a world where you can ask the Assistant to do almost anything. If you connect the right services to the platform, you're already close to all-encompassing voice control today. That's also true for financial transactions: You can tell Google Assistant to send money through Google Pay. Integrating proper online banking is quite another feat, though. Google and British bank NatWest (part of RBS) have taken it upon themselves to trial such feature in a limited beta, but the current implementation comes with lots of hurdles and drawbacks.

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96

[Update: Google clarifies] Google is forcing reminders to go through Assistant

A few days ago, we told you about one big improvement with Google's reminders, which now finally use unbundled notifications and let you act on each one separately. Part of that article also showed off a new interface for reminders, which looks more in line with Google's recent Material Design approach. However, there are a few other aspects in that interface that we didn't delve into, chief among them is the fact that Google's reminders now require Assistant and won't work without it.

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107

[Update: Now on all Assistant speakers and displays] Google Home will finally control your lights without talking to you about it

Controlling smart lights was one of the first useful features of Google Home, but the speakers sure do like to talk about what they're doing. Sometimes the verbal feedback is useful, but not so much when you're just turning off the lights like you do every day. Well, Google has finally recognized this is a problem. Soon, your Assistant speakers won't get so wordy when controlling lights.

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43

Google has disabled Assistant reminders for G Suite users

G Suite users have to contend with a new disappointment every few weeks. No sooner had they learned of one pointless limitation on their account than they discover a new one. The latest blow is that Assistant says it doesn't support reminders for G Suite accounts now... even though it did just a few days ago.

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9

Google introduces a new podcast section about stuff you're searching for

We all like to follow certain podcasts because they present content you expect in a way you can expect. But what if you just need a crash course on a topic? It used to be that you couldn't just put in a search term as you could on YouTube and grab a variety of shows about a certain topic or featuring a certain person. It is the case now, though — you can use Google search to find people and topics on podcasts.

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40

Google Assistant reminders get way more useful as notifications become unbundled

With one of the first posts I wrote here at AP, I lamented the erratic and broken system of reminders that permeates several different Google products. In the two and a half years since, even with the relaunch of the Google Tasks app, very few of the problems I pointed out have been remedied in any meaningful way. Recently, however, one of my biggest bugbears appears to have finally been addressed.

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9

Grab a Google Home Mini for less than $20 on Rakuten (60% off)

If you still haven't purchased a smart speaker or want to get an extra one, today's your lucky day, as Rakuten is running an offer that lets you get the Google Home Mini for just $20. This is even cheaper than the ongoing deal for $25 apiece, thanks to an additional 20% off.

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71

Google Assistant can now read and reply to messages from WhatsApp, Google Voice, others

Google Assistant has always been able to read SMS texts sent to you over the native Messages app or Hangouts. But billions of users around the world rely on other messaging services for their daily communication, and those apps, as far as we know, were off-limits for Assistant's reading ability (some let you send but not read). That's no longer the case now.

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39

Google halts Assistant recording transcription in the EU for at least three months

Just a few weeks ago, a Belgian news service claimed Google was eavesdropping on users by listening to their private conversations. The company uses human employees to transcribe Assistant voice recordings to help it better understand what they're saying, and it turned out that one of these contractors leaked the material to the press. The controversy has led the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (HmbBfDI) to start a procedure prohibiting Google from continuing to manually audit these recordings.

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