While Essential's first device has a cult following among those who prioritize quick Android updates, it became clear in May that it would never see a follow-up. A report from Bloomberg revealed that the company had canceled a second Essential Phone and put itself up for sale. However, over the past several months, the company has quietly chugged along, continuing to push out lightning-fast security patches. Now, a new report from Bloomberg states that the company is indeed working on a second device — but it's not at all like its first product. According to the publication's tipsters, the handset is an anti-smartphone with a small screen that relies primarily on voice commands. Read More
Judging by the Google Assistant help forums, Twitter, and Reddit, a whole lot of people are having trouble getting their phones to respond to voice commands. Twelve of the 20 top posts are complaining about the problem on several different device models and even in several languages. Google says it's on the case, though. Read More
YouTube's app for Android TV hasn't seen a lot of updates since it switched over to the web wrapper as an interface. However, each new version usually brings something of some importance. The latest release comes with a couple of notable enhancements, including performance improvements, automatic resume after switching apps, and voice commands via Google Assistant. For some people running Android Oreo, there may also be new "personalized channels" appearing in the homescreen. Read More
Most voice assistants can make calls and send texts without the user having to touch his/her screen, but that wasn't true for Cortana on Android until now. The latest update adds this capability, and even though it's nothing groundbreaking, it's sure to make your life just a little bit more convenient if you use Cortana regularly. Read More
Google sometimes stealthily deploys new features here and there in Assistant without telling us, but today's update is a big one with some fanfare. There are changes on the way to media playback, Assistant-enabled devices, and subscriptions. Some of these features are rolling out now, and others will be live in the near future. It's a colossal Assistant update overall. Read More
You just got a Google Home, and after unwrapping it and setting it up, you've asked about the weather, requested a few songs to play, and set a timer for 5 minutes to see how it rings. Now what?
I've been covering Google's smart speaker for more than a year now and I've owned a couple of Google Homes for about a year, yet I still feel like I'm not using them to their full potential. Every week brings new features and integrations that make it tough to remember all that can be done, so for those of you who don't know what to ask beyond playing music, those who are getting confused by hearing a different voice sometimes from the speaker, those who are always wondering why some actions work for them but not other members of their household, this is the most accurate tutorial I can write right now. Read More
Now that Google has added multi-user support, the ability to set reminders, and other key functionality to the Google Home, there's not much to complain about. One remaining issue was that you could only say one command at a time. If you wanted to turn off the lights and play something on your TV, you would have to say "turn off the lights," wait for the Home to respond, and then follow up with the casting command. Read More
There are just a handful of video services that support voice controls on the Google Home, like Netflix and Google Photos. This allows you to start playback of content on a Chromecast, Android TV, or other Cast-enabled device using Google Assistant voice commands. I'm still waiting for Hulu to add support, but in the meantime, you can now use it with YouTube TV. Read More
Today's Google event isn't just about new Google-branded products. The company announced today that Nest cameras would have deeper integration with the Google Home and Chromecast. Read More
Samsung's controversially received assistant, Bixby, has rolled out its voice command features in Korea and the US, but if you've been just dying to try out in other countries, you're now in luck. Samsung says that the voice commands are available in 200+ countries worldwide including the UK, Australia, Canada, South Africa, and more.
You will still be limited to speaking in US English and Korean — tough luck if you wanted to use it in other languages — and you will need to own a Galaxy S8 or S8+ to have Bixby in the first place, but once those requirements are met, you just have to press and hold the Bixby button to activate the feature. Read More