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Google Assistant

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Google Lens real-time detection now rolling out with new white UI

Google showed off some pretty incredible changes for Lens at I/O, but one of the cooler upcoming features had to be the real-time detection, which is able to identify and add interactive elements to objects you might want information about. By all appearances, the new feature appears to be rolling out now, alongside an updated white pull-up interface.

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You can now access Google Play Movies content via Google Home

Google Home can start playback of video content from plenty of streaming services like Netflix and HBO. This has been a thing since shortly after Home launched, but Google's own Play Movies platform was not included for some reason. After getting some hints last week that the feature would arrive, it's now official.

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Sony brings Google Assistant to its existing WH-1000XM2 and WI-1000X headsets

Back at CES 2018, Google made a huge splash by announcing Assistant support on every gadget and electronic imaginable. Sony was on the list, but the company did one better than many of its competitors: beside launching new headphones and headsets with Assistant, it promised an update for some of its existing products that would bring them the same feature. And now that firmware is rolling out.

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Hey Google: Alarms and timers should work seamlessly across all my devices

Alarms and timers are probably two of the things I use the Google Assistant for most often. Voice commands make setting them dead simple (especially important for the kitchen, when my hands are often covered in food), and I can use them on my phone, my Pixelbook, or one of my Google Homes.

The problem is that, for all the endpoint ubiquity of setting and managing these timers via the Assistant, I can't actually control or set timers for one device from another. That's kind of silly, and it's a feature I've been wanting for years now. If the appeal isn't obvious to you, let me just put it this way: Have you ever wanted to set an alarm or timer on your phone, only to have your Google Home respond to the query instead?

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Reminders are starting to show up in Google Assistant and Home's settings

For the longest time, it seemed like there was no sense in the madness for the way Google displays different things and settings between the Feed, Assistant, Search, and other entities, but I'm starting to spot a pattern where all of the Assistant-related features are being moved to the Assistant. Today's news falls right into that scope: Reminders are now shown along with other Assistant settings such as Shortcuts, Purchases, Home control, and more.

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[That's the shit] Google Assistant will soon control your smart toilet and tub

In a not-so-distant future, you'll be able to control everything with your Google Home and Assistant. No sooner did we discover seven new device types supported directly by it (A/Cs, air purifiers, fans, coffee makers, kettles, ovens, sprinklers) than we learned about even more devices being added shortly, sometime in 2018. The news came from an I/O session where the Actions on Google team dumped the above slide with all the planned device types.

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Polk Assist is a full Assistant and Chromecast speaker, available next month for $199

A couple days ago, Polk Audio announced a new speaker aptly called the Assist. Not only does it have full Chromecast capabilities, but it also comes with Assistant for voice commands, searches, and smart home controls. Available next month, it will cost $199 according to Polk's press release.

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SwitchBot review: Simple automation for any switch or button in your home

Getting into home automation can be very daunting. Different protocols, different compatibilities, and different requirements for every product don't make things easy. Add into the mix the price tag of changing an existing product into a smart one, or the electrical requirements and installation processes of not-so-standard items like smart switches, and you have all the ingredients for deterring people from venturing into this whole ordeal. But what if there was a product that didn't cost much, didn't have any weird requirements, was super easy to install and use, and could retrofit any existing thing to make it smarter? That's the SwitchBot.

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Actions on Google get integration with custom routines, customizable visuals, support for digital subscriptions and app actions, more

Ever since they were introduced, Actions on Google have been gaining more and more features. They're the backbone behind everything you can do in Assistant with third-party services and apps, and since Assistant is spreading its tentacles everywhere these days, they will become more and more fundamental to the way we interact with our phones, speakers, TVs, and other smart devices. The latest announcements coming out of I/O will help developers achieve more with Actions on Google. 

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Developers can now test Assistant Actions with some users under an early access program

If you're a developer working on an Actions on Google service or you're a maker of a smart home device or connected gadget and would like to try out your new Assistant action in different scenarios, you're a little limited for options. You likely will have to test it internally among your team, if you have one, but beyond that, you can't account for every situation and bug and will have to deploy at some point and hope things don't go wrong when many people start using it. But now you can test it out, as you would an Android app.

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