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Google Assistant

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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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Arlo's cameras will work with the Google Home and Assistant

Gather 'round for some happy news, Arlo owners. If you've been envious of Nest's integration with Google Home and Assistant, the wait might be drawing to a close. Arlo has a landing page where it's promising that the Google Assistant integration is "coming soon" for its connected security cameras.

The entire page is very light on details and all we know is that you'll be able to stream any of your cameras by saying, "Ok Google, show me camera_name on tv/chromecast_name." That's the same thing you can do with Nest and Logi right now, and it requires a Chromecast connected to a TV or an Android TV set-top box to work.

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The ultimate guide to Google Home: Tips and tricks for understanding and making the most out of your assistant speaker

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.

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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. 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 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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InBrief
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Google Assistant can now look up TV schedules

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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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[Deal Alert] Save $50 on JBL Link speakers with Google Assistant

If you're looking to pick up a smart speaker with Google Assistant, but would prefer it to be portable and not resemble an air freshener, JBL has some good options for you, and they've each been discounted by $50 at several retailers.

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Taking a page from Kindle, Amazon’s Alexa is everywhere—can Google's Assistant catch up?

When Amazon upended the publishing industry with the advent of the Kindle, it also paved the way for an approach to luring consumers into a larger sphere of influence, a strategy that is now being successfully adapted for the new age of smart speakers and digital assistants. Both the Kindle and the Echo provide consumers with valuable services, encouraging them to shop and receive content within Amazon's ecosystem. Most of the experiences of its Kindle and Echo hardware also come in the form of apps or services that appear on other manufacturers' devices without additional charge to the consumer, making that connection even stronger.

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Google Assistant and Home can now natively control your smart locks, August and Vivint are the first supported

There are a few smart home device types that your Google Assistant/Home can control natively. Lights, plugs and switches, and thermostats were some of the first, but recently we've seen the addition of dryers, washers, dishwashers, vacuums, fridges, and even scenes. However, one type of device I've been personally waiting for are smart locks. Up until now, all smart locks were, uhm, locked into using the Assistant apps for integration, and not the native smart home capability. So users of August locks had to "ask August to lock the door," and those with Vivint had to "ask Vivint if the door is locked," for example.

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