Assistant has had native support for security cameras for a while. Unfortunately, these were limited to simply streaming the live feed to a smart display or a Chromecast. Even though most doorbells could be configured as security cameras, they couldn't notify you when someone was at the door using Assistant. Google just updated its digital helper, allowing smart doorbells to send notifications natively.
Google's Nest Hub smart displays use voice commands for most functions, which means they are usually easier to use than smartphones or PCs. However, the (general) lack of a graphical user interface means discovering features can be difficult. Google does show tips and tricks on the Hub's home screen, but they don't cover every possible option and feature.
In this guide, we'll go over some helpful features in Google's line of smart displays in particular: the Nest Hub (formerly named the Home Hub) and Nest Hub Max.
Google is always working on improving its Android apps and the operating system itself, heavily relying on public a/b tests that appear on some people's phones but not on others. But every once in a while, the company takes the time to announce some features formally, and today is another one of those days. Google is making a whole slew of known tests and a few brand-new changes official.
We don't really think about it, but it's kind of odd that Google hasn't made a standalone version of the Assistant for PCs, isn't it? Or at least built one into Chrome. After all, Chrome OS has it now, and the Assistant is a big part of the Android experience, too (Bixby be damned). We even buy smart speakers and displays for around the house, headphones can talk to Google, and yet our desktop and laptops are ignored. But if you want to plug that gap on your own, it turns out, you can. There's an unofficial Google Assistant desktop client that's a pain in the ass to set up but way nicer than it has any right to be.
If your Google Home was telling you, "sorry, that device isn't set up yet," when trying to control smart home devices like your thermostat or lights today, you aren't alone. Not everyone is affected, but what appeared to be an Assistant-related outage affected Assistant-based smart home device controls for many. According to a Google spokesperson, the issue was due to a "limited experiment" and has now been fixed. Things should be back to normal soon.
The popular automation app Tasker just picked up a big new feature: The ability to call tasks from Tasker directly from the Google Assistant. It's English-only for now, but you'll be able to trigger your tasks just by name when telling the Assistant to "start" or "do" a specific command in Tasker. Even more powerfully and flexibly, you can also use Tasker's Pattern Matching to perform actions with variables on the fly. But unlike AutoVoice, this only works on the device that has Tasker installed on it — probably your phone.
Back in November, Google Assistant gained integration with third-party fitness trackers to natively inform you about your activity. Even though the feature was limited to sleep data and exclusive to Fitbit devices, Google is expanding it to smart displays, which can now proactively show this information.
This year's CES was different than usual, but just like every year, there is a mountain of new smart home devices. Google Assistant was front and center for many announcements, whether they be TVs, Chromebooks, Wi-Fi cameras, or something else entirely.
Google is officially rolling out Guest Mode for its smart displays and Assistant-powered speakers as of today. Originally teased back in October, the feature appears to be live for all of us in testing. And, though you might think it, the feature it isn't really meant to enhance your privacy. It's just there to prevent friends or family from messing up your schedule or account history.
Setting up new smart home devices is always a hassle, which you might have noticed following the holidays and presents under the tree. You have to look through a list of Assistant actions during setup and select the appropriate one, which is just one part of the multi-step pairing process. Google is looking to make this step easier with the introduction of suggestion chips for new device's actions on your network, but smart home app developers will have to do their part to enable this.