This story was originally published and last updated .
Last year, Google rolled out its interpreter mode to smartphones, helping users hold a conversation with someone who speaks another language. This has become a useful tool for those who travel frequently, but using "hey, Google" to activate it each time was a pain. Thankfully Google has remedied this by creating a shortcut app that adds this functionality to your app drawer and homescreen.
As part of its CES announcements, Google is taking the wraps off a bunch of new and upcoming Assistant functionality, like the ability to schedule actions, a new "Read It" command that dictates text content like news in a more natural voice, plus new Smart Display features like sticky notes and speed dial. While much of it won't land until a nebulous date "later this year," it gives us a peek at what to expect from the Assistant in 2020, and a reference for when Google re-announces half of it as new later once it's been in silent public testing for a couple months.
Back in 2011, Google Translate made it easier to interpret live discussions thanks to Conversation mode. The app also got a fresh coat of paint more recently, making it easier to summon it. In parallel, Assistant-enabled speakers got the ability to translate live conversations in April, which essentially turned them into digital interpreters. Unfortunately, the functionality was exclusive to smart speakers and displays and wasn't available on phones until now. Google just released the feature on mobile devices as well, making it easier to have a conversation with someone who speaks a different language on the go.
During CES last month, Google announced its Home speakers and smart displays with Assistant would be capable of becoming virtual interpreters and translate live conversations between people speaking in different languages. The feature seems to be rolling out to the masses as an official support page has been set up, and several devices are now capable of translating discussions.
The Lenovo Smart Display family of devices is now receiving the R6 software update, according to the company forums. While some users have been on R6 since last week, this is a wider roll-out, so all devices should receive the update in the coming days.
Google Assistant is the belle of the ball at CES 2019, with hardware partnerships popping up left, right, and center. What better time, then, for Google to announce a slew of shiny new features for the increasingly (artificially) intelligent helper? Among the updates comes flight check-ins, hotel booking, a new language interpreter mode, and the extension of Assistant on the lockscreen to all Android phones.