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assistant

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Second Google Home visualization shows up: get multiple YouTube video results on your Chromecast

Back at I/O 2017, we were promised visual responses from Google Home on a Chromecast and we've been waiting for months for them to show up. A few weeks ago, the first one started working: you could ask Google Home to show you the weather on your TV and instead of answering with the forecast, it would invoke your connected Chromecast and show the weather on the TV.

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Google Assistant may support 38 more countries and 17 more languages in 2018

Google's Assistant and Assistant-powered hardware are a huge convenience, but the limited markets and languages for both have been anything but convenient for many. While Google has been slowly rolling out new countries for Home hardware and more languages for the Assistant over the last year or so, it looks like the company is gearing up to expand its footprint significantly. In a leaked slide from a presentation at the DNI (Digital News Initiative) summit in Amsterdam, Google revealed a literal map of its upcoming plans.

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Bloomberg: Android P will have notch optimizations and more Assistant integration

We're expecting Google to drop the first developer preview for Android P in the coming weeks, assuming it holds to the same approximate schedule from the past two years. According to a report from Bloomberg, Android P may include support for a particular hardware feature: the notch. Devices like the Essential Phone with a "notch" missing from the display have some UI peculiarities, and Google may be looking to get ahead of things.

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More Chromebooks may get Google Assistant in the near future

One of the highlighting features of the Google Pixelbook at launch was the native integration of Assistant in the OS itself. It can be activated by either using the "Ok, Google" hotword like normal or via the dedicated Assistant key near the spacebar. But according to XDA, who have been playing around in the Chromium Gerrit, Assistant might be coming to other Chromebooks in the near future.

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[Update: 1st gen Chromecast unsupported] The first Google Home visualization is live - see the weather on your Chromecast

We've been able to ask Google Assistant for information about the local weather for a long time, and your Chromecast's home screen has shown the current temperature along with a weather icon. But if you wanted to check out your upcoming weather, the only option was to "OK Google" yourself a forecast while you sit and listen through it. Back at I/O, Google announced upcoming contextual visual responses for the Google Home/Assistant and Chromecast, and now at least one of the features they showed off is here. You can now ask your Google Home to show you the weather on your Chromecast.

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[Update: APK now available] Google releases Assistant Go app on the Play Store

Back at I/O in May last year, Google announced the Android Go initiative; a less intensive version of the OS optimized for cheap phones with little RAM. This was launched in December and to go with it we've seen a number of Google apps get the Go treatment to make them smaller and less memory-hungry.

Apps like Google Maps Go, YouTube Go, Google Go, and Gboard Go are all designed to get the best performance out of the low-cost devices that are typically popular in emerging markets. There's even a brand new app called Files Go that can help you declutter your phone and maintain a healthy amount of free storage.

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SōLIS SO-3000 and SO-6000 review: Both great Chromecast speakers, but one is a questionable bargain

SōLIS is, in the grand scheme of things, a company new to the audio business. Centering around its oddly stylized name and its slogan "Leave no note unheard," SōLIS focuses on building hi-res audio products that do not necessarily break the bank. For some of us, that line sounds a bit familiar. The recent line of speakers, including these two, is aimed at wireless streaming aficionados. This market is currently dominated by Sonos and for good reason, but I like to see new players enter the field to test their hand.

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SHIELD TV gets new Assistant capabilities, including broadcasting and security camera streaming

Since the Nvidia SHIELD TV added Google Assistant support last year, it's been slowly catching up with other Assistant-enabled devices by adding new functionality. It looks like a couple more capabilities are now available. At least we think so, as Assistant features across different devices are so inconsistent that it's sometimes hard to tell what's new and what's not.

According to Nvidia, broadcasting messages and the ability to summon your security camera stream on your TV via the Assistant are both new additions. Apparently, if you tell the Assistant on the SHIELD TV to "broadcast that it’s time to watch TV," it will relay the messages to Google Home devices around the house.

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Even more Google Assistant speakers are on their way, from the likes of Anker, B&O, and Klipsch

According to Google, the company has been selling Home speakers at a rate of more than one per second since the Home Mini was released late last year. That's an incredible statistic, and it doesn't even take into account Assistant speakers from third-parties that have been available since last fall. Last year, we learned about devices from Mobvoi, Panasonic, Sony, and Anker's Zolo sub-brand. They were clearly the tip of the iceberg.

CES 2018 in Las Vegas has been awash with new Assistant products as Google takes the fight to Amazon's Alexa. Even the monorail has been taken over by Assistant branding.

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Dish set-top boxes will soon gain Google Assistant support

Google Assistant launched with just a few third-party product integrations, but the list has grown considerably since then. You can add Dish to that list soon. The satellite television provider has announced its set-top boxes will soon plug into Google Assistant on all your other devices. That means you can channel surf without touching the remote.

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