Following its English to turkey translations in Search, Google has introduced some more fun Thanksgiving Easter eggs. On smart speakers and displays, the company has added a small audible and visual surprise when you tell the Assistant to set a turkey timer, and there is a new turkey filter in Duo that you can use for some laughs with your family while socially distancing.
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Google's latest smart displays come with ultrasound sensing, a neat tech that uses ultrasonic waves to measure distance to nearby objects and adapt the UI depending on how near of far you are. Timers, weather reports, media controls, and other elements grow larger when you step away, to make it easier for you to spot them at a distance, then return to their regular size when you come close. This same technology appears to be at the heart of a new feature Google is working on, which proactively triggers Assistant the moment you come near without you having to say "Hey Google" first.
Call it a quality-of-life update or maybe even a "quality-of-memory" update: Google will soon begin listing dates and locations of users' own pictures if they have turned on Google Photos slideshows for their Nest displays and/or Chromecast screens. Display and Chromecast owners were emailed about the change which begins rolling out September 15.
Google's a company that's always experimenting with new features and tweaks for its software to improve the user experience. Now a new video has surfaced showing a completely revamped UI on the Nest Hub Max that makes touch controls easier to access — and it looks promising.
Stop me if you think you've heard this one before. You set up a cooking timer on your Nest speaker or display in the kitchen, then go chill in the living room or the bedroom. When the timer rings, it just doesn't stop until you move your ass over to the kitchen and talk to that particular speaker, because yelling "stop" to the other Assistant units littered around your house doesn't do anything. We've complained about this for years, but the problem should finally be far behind us as Google is rolling out timer and alarm control across the entire house.
Wake-up calls and extra towels are things you'd traditionally call the hotel lobby to request, but Google wants to change it up a bit. The company already added Interpreter Mode for smart displays in hotel lobbies early last year, but it's now adding some hotel room-specific features to its Nest Hubs. A few hotels in the US and UK have already added Nest Hubs to their rooms.
Google has officially introduced a neat nagging new feature for its Assistant speakers and smart displays called Family Bell, starting to roll out today. If you're the kind of person who often forgets to eat or sleep on time, who procrastinates a lot, works for hours and forgets to stretch their legs, or otherwise misses the regular time cues of a normal day, you'll be able to rely on Assistant to remind you of all of them. Consider it a virtual parent or nanny living inside your speakers and always looking out for your best interest.
You can look all the way back to the launch of the first Pixel phone to find Google has been tinkering with games in Assistant. Four years later and Google's directory of voice-controlled games is brimming with activities you can use to pass the time. And since smart displays have become a substantial part of the Assistant ecosystem, Google's sights are set on some more visually stimulating experiences that involve interaction through both voice and touch.