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Google Assistant

55

LG's next OLED and SUPER UHD TVs will have Google Assistant in some countries

In the TV segment, LG has a great leg up Samsung's. Its OLED TVs have been praised for many years for their excellent displays and beautiful colors. Now LG is taking another step toward improving its product lineup by introducing ThinQ AI. ThinQ has been the company's smart home brand for a few years already, starting with the SmartThinQ Hub and ending recently with the announcement of the ThinQ speaker with Google Assistant.

But let's start with the visual aspects first. The 2018 lineup of OLED TVs from LG will use a new α (Alpha) 9 processor which promises richer colors, better sharpness, and more realism, whereas the 2018 portfolio of SUPER UHD TVs will have Nano Cell Full-Array Local Dimming for deeper blacks, better shadows, and an image quality that tries to push even closer to OLED.

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72

Google's new text-to-speech system sounds convincingly human

Get ready for the little person living inside your phone and speaker to sound a lot more life-like. Google believes it has reached a new milestone in the quest to make computer-generated speech indistinguishable from human speech with Tacotron 2, a system that trains neural networks to generate eerily natural-sounding speech from text, and they have the samples to prove it.

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13

Google Home and Assistant still have some fun Christmas Easter eggs for you

Christmas is over, but if you're anything like us then the holiday spirit is still with you and you refuse to let it go this easily. If that's the case and you're still huddled indoors with family and kids, you might want to wish a Merry Christmas to your Google Home or to Assistant on your phone. The response, as is often the case with Google, will be a little, uhm, Easter egg.

There are a couple of so-so answers like wishing you had a Merry Christmas too and triggering the Santa tracker (screenshots below), but the more interesting ones are more elaborate than that.

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182

[Update: Latest Google app beta update has a fix] Google Assistant on Pixel 2 is not detecting voice input through Bluetooth headphones

Most owners of OG Pixels can attest that Bluetooth on those devices is not the best. We've written a fair few articles about the various issues over the past year, but with the launch of the new Pixels we were hopeful that Google might have improved things somewhat. While Bluetooth performance so far does seem to be more consistent, we've just learned about one particularly annoying bug that Pixel 2 owners have uncovered.

According to the many posters on this Pixel User Community thread, when you connect Bluetooth headphones to a Pixel 2 or 2 XL and activate the Google Assistant, it makes a sound to indicate that it's listening but doesn't detect your voice.

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6

Google Assistant will soon help you find local professionals depending on exactly what you need

When you're having some sort of issue with your house, chances are that you immediately go to Google to find someone who can take care of the issue if you don't already have a go-to guy saved in your contacts list. However, it's not uncommon to see people with the same general profession specialize in different areas. Thankfully, Google will soon make it easier to figure out who you should call.

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70

Tip: Turn on your Christmas tree with Google Home and a smart plug

Two years ago, when I started getting into smart home stuff, I had a small epiphany when I heard a podcaster say they set up their Christmas tree to turn on and off with their iPhone. Until then, I had considered smart plugs completely useless for me, since we use recessed ceiling lights a lot here in Lebanon and rarely have floor or desk lamps. But a Christmas tree and one you can turn on and off without kneeling, ruffling half the tree, and dropping several decorations in order to unplug and replug the lights?! That was a light bulb moment, if ever there was any.

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14

TicHome Mini review: A worthy portable Google Home Mini alternative, as long as you don’t mind paying double

Google introduced the Assistant SDK back in April, making it possible for third parties to build the digital companion into their devices. Sure enough, at IFA 2017 in Berlin back in August, the first Google Assistant-enabled speakers were announced, due to hit the market this fall. There are now several different options from a range of manufacturers, and they cover various use cases and price points.

Other Google Home alternatives with better speakers have also been announced by the likes of Sony and Panasonic. For those on a tighter budget there’s also the Zolo Mojo from Anker. And before that has even gone on sale, Google itself launched the Google Home Mini.

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30

Google Home can now directly control washers, dryers, vacuums, and dishwashers; also adds scene support

About a week ago, the smart home devices support page of Google Home was updated to add a host of new features that we hadn't heard about until then. We reached out to Google to get some information and we finally have a few answers to share with you.

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6

[Deal Alert] Get 20% off Ticwatch E and S Android Wear watches, 40% off Assistant-enabled TicHome Mini speaker

Sales, sales, sales everywhere. For 1 to 2 weeks every year, the entire world becomes a huge bargain bin where some sales are a little more enticing than the others. I think this one falls in the former category: Mobvoi is having some discounts on its Android Wear smartwatches and TicHome Mini speakers.

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9

[Deal Alert] Get up to $150 off JBL gear, including $40-50 off new Link Assistant speakers

Tis the season for deals and today there's more to be thankful about if you love great sound and even better features. One of our favorite audio brands, JBL, is having a big discount on many of its speakers. This includes small and more significant discounts on long-time Bluetooth favorites like the Clip 2 ($30 off), Charge 3 (a neat $60 off), Flip 4 ($20 off), and Xtreme ($150 off, half-price), but also really cool discounts on the newly announced streaming speaker range.

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