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Smart Speakers


Amazon lets you share Alexa routines — Google should follow suit with Assistant

In July, Google announced that smart home appliance makers would be able to publish Assistant routines featuring their own Actions and ones recommended from partner brands. Amazon seems to be raising that move with its own: user-shareable Alexa routines.

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The Harman Kardon Citation 200 will be available to buy in October

High-end audio brand Harman Kardon is owned by Samsung these days, but it's still capable of some fine hardware, as I discovered when I reviewed the Citation One speaker about this time last year. It's part of a wider range of Google Assistant-enabled products that sound much better than most other smart speakers, which is now being expanded with several new devices.

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Lenovo's new Smart Clock Essential is a $50 Google Assistant speaker that's also a clock

Lenovo first got into the smart clock biz last year, with the creatively named Lenovo Smart Clock. That device was essentially a tiny Google Assistant-powered smart display positioned as a clock replacement. It was a neat idea, but an introductory MSRP of $80 made it a tough sell. Lenovo is trying again this year with the Smart Clock Essential, a smaller, simpler, less expensive take on the same idea.

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Google Assistant devices and cast targets can now be added to and removed from multi-room audio on the fly

For those of you who use your Assistant-equipped Smart Displays and speakers to broadcast music around different rooms of the house at the same time, Google has made a small improvement. Devices and cast targets can now be added and removed on the fly without creating new groups, which should make things a little more convenient for some.

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Google Assistant adds 6 new smart home entertainment device types, adds TV-related commands


Google Assistant will soon remember where you left a video or podcast across your speakers and displays

With Google I/O falling victim to a global pandemic this year, a whole round of developments on Google Assistant has gone unannounced. But the company has made up for that opportunity with a presentation at the Voice Global 2020 virtual summit, revealing new tools for developers and new expectations for consumers when they interact with smart displays and speakers going forward.

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Get a Google Home for $49 ($50 off), because talking to Assistant almost counts as human contact

Google is putting on a sale to move units of its original smart speaker, the Google Home, out from stores and into your residence. If you want or need one for any reason, you can get one from anywhere (and we mean anywhere) for half-off.

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You can sample and buy audiobooks right from your Google Assistant speaker or display

Happen to have a bit more time and attention to devote to a hobby? Why not listen to audiobooks on your capable Google Assistant speaker or display? Google has made it easier for its smart device owners to sample and buy titles without having to use your phone or computer.

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Marshall unveils compact 'Uxbridge' smart speaker, launching April 8 with Alexa support

Marshall has launched a few smart speakers, including the hefty Stanmore II. The new Uxbridge speaker won't take up nearly as much room on your shelf, but it has the same classic Marshall styling and support for voice assistants. Although, it won't have Google Assistant at launch.

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You can now set your Sonos speaker as Google Assistant's default

Just last month, Sonos sued Google for allegedly infringing upon its patents. The two companies had previously worked together to bring Assistant features to select Sonos speakers. Surprisingly, it seems that this partnership is continuing, at least for now, despite the ongoing litigation. First spotted a few months ago by users on the r/Sonos subreddit, the ability to set Sonos speakers as an Assistant-powered product's default device for music playback now appears to be widely available.

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