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Google Assistant

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Google Assistant gets playful with new Halloween-themed Easter eggs

Google Assistant doesn't need to do a whole lot more to earn the "spooky" tag, but that's not stopping the team behind it from trying — but this time for smiles, not shivers. The virtual assistant is now equipped with interactive, intentionally humorous responses to some Halloween-related questions and commands.

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Google Assistant now sounds more natural thanks to DeepMind's WaveNet technology

When Google acquired British artificial intelligence startup DeepMind back in 2014 nobody was really sure why. It was a secretive company without any consumer-facing products, but it clearly had some technology of interest in Mountain View. DeepMind is now part of the wider Alphabet structure, and now a little bit more is known about what goes on there, including the work it does for Google.

One of the latest projects to come out of DeepMind is called WaveNet, a deep neural network for generating more natural artificial speech recordings, and its use case at Google is obvious. Google Assistant should sound much more human now that WaveNet has been incorporated into it.

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Google Assistant shortcuts can make your Home say anything

Back in May, Google Assistant added support for shortcuts, allowing you to say one thing and have Assistant perform another command. For example, I set "night" as a shortcut for starting ambient noise on my Google Home. But you can just as easily have fun with it, when combined with Assistant's 'repeat after me' command.

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Here are all the new Home and Assistant-related features that Google announced at its October 4th event

Google revealed a lot of products at its San Francisco event on October 4th, namely the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2XL, the Home Mini, and the Home Max. There were also software features announced for Google Assistant and Home products, but there were so many that they're hard to keep track of. So if you ever need to dig up that one specific Assistant feature from the event, you can find it here.

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Google Assistant 'routines' will soon let you personalize multiple actions you can trigger with a single command

Wouldn't it be great if upon waking up you could say "Ok Google, good morning" to have your lights and coffee machine turned on while the news is read to you? Similarly, when you go to bed, it would be great if you could say "goodnight" to have your lights dimmed and your security system activated. Well, soon™ you'll be able to, thanks to new multi-step actions that can be added to everyday 'routines.'

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Google Assistant can tell you who's at the door with Nest Hello and Familiar Faces

Last month, Google's sister company Nest revealed a smart doorbell, the Nest Hello. It has a built-in camera with IR illumination, and is able to detect faces with Nest Cam IQ. Google is leveraging that feature with a new voice command for the Google Assistant.

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Nest camera support is coming to Google Home/Chromecast

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.

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Google Home Mini is official, costs $49 and comes in chalk, charcoal, or coral

It's already been heavily leaked, so it didn't come as much of a surprise, but the Google Home Mini is now official. Announced at Google's big event today in San Francisco, the little speaker is inevitably going to be compared to a hockey puck in size and shape. It's a smaller and cheaper alternative to the Google Home smart speaker, costing just $49 compared to the $129 you can usually expect to pay for its bigger brother.

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Redesigned Google app UI could arrive with new Pixels, including bottom navigation bar and dedicated Lens button

The Google app and its feed, formerly Google Now, have been through a plethora of changes recently, and they could be about to see another redesign alongside the launch of the new Pixel phones. The whole interface looks like it's going to be tweaked, with more rounded corners on cards and new menu navigation.

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Google uploaded a pile of videos showing off how the Google Assistant works on headphones

The Google Help account uploaded three new videos a few days back, detailing exactly how to use the Google Assistant on devices like Bose's recently released QuietComfort 35 II. If you've been wondering how, exactly, the Google Assistant works in that type of environment, it actually looks reasonably intuitive. And either way, the videos are pretty short and worth a watch. 

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