What’s Google Assistant and what can it do?

(Pocket-lint) – Google’s model of Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri is Google Assistant. It has made unimaginable progress since its 2016 launch and might be probably the most superior and dynamic of the assistants on the market.

Google has unfold Assistant far and huge, not solely by itself {hardware}, however by means of partnerships with different firms that sees Google Assistant in an enormous vary of gadgets, from fridges and headphones, to audio system and vehicles.

Here is how Google Assistant works and what it’s essential to find out about Google’s AI.

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What’s Google Assistant?

Google Assistant is Google’s voice assistant. When it launched, Google Assistant was an extension of Google Now, designed to be private whereas increasing on Google’s present “OK Google” voice controls.

Initially, Google Now well pulled out related info for you. It knew the place you labored, your conferences and journey plans, the sports activities groups you favored, and what you in order that it might current you with info that mattered to you.

Google has lengthy killed Google Now, however Assistant lives in the identical area, fusing these personalised components with a wide-range of voice management. Google Assistant helps each textual content or voice entry and it’ll observe the dialog whichever entry technique you are utilizing.

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What can Google Assistant do?

Google Assistant affords voice instructions, voice looking out, and voice-activated gadget management, letting you full numerous duties after you’ve got stated the “OK Google” or “Hey Google” wake phrases. It’s designed to offer you conversational interactions.

Google Assistant will:

  • Management your gadgets and your good dwelling
  • Entry info out of your calendars and different private info
  • Discover info on-line, from restaurant bookings to instructions, climate and information
  • Management your music
  • Play content material in your Chromecast or different appropriate gadgets
  • Run timers and reminders
  • Make appointments and ship messages
  • Open apps in your cellphone
  • Learn your notifications to you
  • Actual-time spoken translations
  • Play video games

Continued Dialog means you do not have to say “Hey Google” for follow-up requests. As a substitute, as soon as you’ve got began speaking to Google, it listens for a response without having a set off phrase on a regular basis. Google may recognise voice profiles for various folks, so it is aware of who’s speaking to it and may tailor the responses accordingly. You can even ask for a number of issues on the similar time.

As Google Assistant is aware of you and understands context, it would react in an knowledgeable or good approach. That is vital because it provides voice management much more energy and strikes it on from solely reacting to particular phrases or instructions. It is designed to be extra than simply reactive.

Options embrace the power to verify in to your flight (airline and vacation spot dependant), in addition to the power to e-book a room with some companions and there is an Interpreter Mode on Google Nest gadgets and good shows too. With it, you possibly can ask Google Assistant that can assist you conduct a dialog in dozens of languages. Simply say “Hey Google, be my Spanish interpreter” to begin Interpreter Mode and get actual time spoken and (on Sensible Shows) written translation to assist the dialog.

Google Assistant in Nest gadgets kinds the inspiration of good dwelling management. It is appropriate with a variety of gadgets, so you possibly can management heating, lights, and a tons extra along with your voice, though the identical expertise is out there by means of all Google Assistant interfaces.

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Which gadgets provide Google Assistant?

Google Assistant initially launched on the Google Pixel smartphones and Google Dwelling, however it’s now obtainable to only about all trendy Android gadgets, together with Put on OS gadgets, Android TV, and Nvidia Protect, in addition to any vehicles that help Android Auto and different gadgets too, like Nest cameras and the Lenovo Sensible Clock.

Google Assistant is native to Google Nest (previously Google Dwelling) good audio system, but it surely’s additionally broadly obtainable on different good audio system from third-party producers together with Sony, Sonos, LG and Panasonic. Equally, it is broadly supported by headphones (when related to an Android cellphone).

Sensible dwelling gadgets like Philips Hue and Ikea’s Dwelling Sensible vary, for instance, may be managed by Google Assistant and never simply by means of Google Nest, however wherever you occur to work together with Assistant.

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Google Assistant on telephones

Google Assistant is out there on Android telephones, with all latest fashions providing the AI system. Even gadgets that supply one other AI system, like Samsung’s Bixby, additionally provide Google Assistant. Primarily, in case your cellphone has Android with GMS (Google Cell Companies), your cellphone has Google Assistant – so that does not embrace Huawei gadgets.

It is potential to have Assistant reply to you even when your Android cellphone is locked too, should you opt-in by means of your settings and it’s also possible to decide in to see solutions to private queries too.

Google Assistant can be obtainable on iPhones, though there are some restrictions.

Google Assistant in apps

Google Assistant may help you navigate in Google Maps, on each Android and iOS gadgets. Together with your voice, you possibly can share your ETA with family and friends, reply to texts, play music and podcasts, seek for locations alongside your route, or add a brand new cease, all in Google Maps.

Google Assistant may auto-punctuate your message (on Android and iOS telephones) and skim again and reply to all of your notifications (Android solely).


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Assistant works with many well-liked messaging apps and SMS, together with: WhatsApp, Messenger, Viber, Telegram, Android Messages and extra. When driving, Google Assistant can auto-calculate your ETA from Google Maps and may ship to buddies too, in case you have an Android gadget.

Google Nest gadgets

Google Nest audio system are the corporate’s direct competitor to the Amazon Echo. Nest Audio is a Chromecast-enabled speaker that serves as a voice-controlled assistant. It’s the first port of call for Google Assistant in the home and it’s an expanding ecosystem. There are currently five devices available in the Nest speaker portfolio including the Nest Audio, Google Home Max, Nest Mini, the second generation Nest Hub, Nest Hub Max.

You can ask Google Nest devices to do anything you’d ask Assistant to do on Android phones, but moving into the home really puts the emphasis on other services and functions, like smart home control, compatibility with Chromecast to send movies to your TV, and a whole lot more.

Read our Google Nest tips and tricks to get the most out of Google Assistant on your Google Nest device.

Wear OS

Google Assistant is also available on wearables running Wear OS. Using the wake words, you’ll be able to ask Assistant to perform a number of tasks from your watch, such as turning the heating down, or replying to a message.

Google/Android TV

Android TV also offers Google Assistant on a number of devices. Sony offers Android TV across its models, for example. There’s another dimension here though: Sony TVs not only run Android TV, but they are also compatible with Google Nest, meaning you can control your TV by talking to your speaker, as well as control your lights by talking to your TV.

Set-top boxes like Nvidia Shield TV also support Google Assistant and the list of popular media and entertainment devices supporting Assistant is constantly expanding, with TVs from Samsung also in the mix, as well as DISH’s Hopper family of receivers. With Google Assistant built-in, you can use your voice to turn on the TV, change volume and channels, and switch between inputs.

Partners with Android TV devices and Google Assistant include Sony, Hisense, Philips, TCL, Skyworth, Xiaomi, Haier, Changhong, JVC and Toshiba.

More recently, Google has launched Google TV, which is the interface that runs over the top of Android TV and is generally replacing raw Android TV – again, it supports Assistant to aid searching for content – as well as controlling playback from other Assistant-enabled devices. An example is the Chromecast with Google TV, which offers Google Assistant right from the remote.

Headphones and earbuds

There’s support for Google Assistant in many wireless headphones, too, including the Bose QuietComfort 45 and Google’s own Pixel Buds, as well as models from brands like Harman, JBL, Sony, and others.

With this kind of integration, you can access the AI assistant without opening your phone – usually you just press a button and start talking to Google Assistant.

Google smart displays

The race to be everywhere in your home is on, with Google having its own take on the Echo Show in the Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max.

Smart displays offering Google Assistant also include companies like JBL, Lenovo and LG. The Lenovo Smart Display is available in 7-inch, 8-inch and 10.1-inch screen options.

The JBL Link View meanwhile, has a pair of 10W speakers and an 8-inch touchscreen.

Cars

Google Assistant is available cars that support Android Auto, although Android Automotive has seen a Google-based UI in some recent cars, for example Polestar.

Smart home devices and appliances

As we’ve mentioned, a lot of connected devices are compatible with Google Assistant, from lightbulbs to fridges and everything else between. Assistant works with over 1000 home automation brands and more than 10,000 devices.

There’s a full list of Google Assistant partners here, however here is a rundown of a few of the vital appropriate gadgets:

  • Canary
  • Hive
  • Honeywell
  • Ikea
  • iRobot
  • LG home equipment
  • Logitech
  • Nest
  • Netatmo
  • Osram
  • Philips Hue
  • Ring
  • Samsung SmartThings
  • Tado
  • TP-Hyperlink
  • WeMo
  • Whirlpool

These gadgets may be managed by Google Assistant, that means you possibly can flip lights and switches on and off. You possibly can change the heating or get an alert that your cleansing is completed or a washing cycle is completed.

Google Assistant can be appropriate with IFTTT, so customized recipes may be created. As we have stated earlier than, you additionally do not must be speaking to Google Dwelling; you need to use Assistant in your cellphone to work together – primarily, when you setup a tool through the Google Dwelling app in your cellphone, that management will likely be obtainable anyplace you possibly can work together with Google Assistant – in the identical approach that Amazon Alexa works.

What’s Google Assistant Join?

Google Assistant Join is a platform that gadget producers can use to deliver the Google Assistant into gadgets extra simply and cheaply. For shoppers, meaning you need to see several types of good gadgets coming quickly.

For instance, Google stated a associate might create an E-Ink show that initiatives the climate or your calendar, whereas utilizing Assistant Hook up with ship content material out of your linked good speaker.

Google Assistant will deal with the so-called “higher-order computing” – figuring out what’s on the calendar, checking for updates, and so on.

How do I do know if my cellphone has Google Assistant?

To verify in case your cellphone has Google Assistant, say “OK Google” or press-and-hold the house button – or faucet the microphone within the Google search bar. That is the place to begin for Assistant, after which you’ll sort or converse and have Assistant reply. Often, in the course of the set-up of an Android, you will be prompted to configure Assistant.

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Google Assistant vs Amazon Alexa

That is all the time the massive query: Which is best – Assistant or Amazon Alexa?

Each these platforms go head-to-head, providing comparable gadgets in addition to comparable capabilities. The ambitions are typically the identical, to be a cross-device private assistant. Google has an apparent benefit in relation to Android: it is aware of who you might be, what you seek for, your folks, shopping habits, the content material of your calendar and the place you go, all due to the form of knowledge residing in Android.

Alexa, alternatively, is aware of what you purchase on Amazon.

However that Android benefit extends additional. It is baked into the OS of many telephones (not iPhone customers), so you have got Google Assistant with you on a regular basis. Amazon Alexa has the smartphone app, but it surely’s not as built-in into telephones.

Google Assistant feels at dwelling on a cellphone, with entry to extra capabilities across the cellphone – like launching apps. Google has hotword help on telephones, too, whereas Alexa hotword help is restricted to gadgets like Amazon’s personal Fireplace tablets.

In the case of help, Alexa feels prefer it has extra partnerships and {hardware}.

However, Google is smarter in coping with primary capabilities: Alexa must know which gentle to activate and off, particularly, whereas Google will simply allow you to flip every little thing on or off without having a gaggle organising or gadgets to be named.

Google can be higher a routing out info, usually supplying you with higher search outcomes. On a cellphone, naturally, discovering tackle and navigation is a core ability. Alexa will discover addresses and report on site visitors, however that is not fairly the identical as gaining access to actual navigation and maps.

Once more, the smartphone benefit provides Google an edge right here.

However in relation to dwelling duties, like enjoying music or working with these appropriate gadgets, the expertise may be very shut – and some extent of private choice will come into it. Amazon has the sting with gadgets (there’s higher selection in Echo and the system in a single step forward, with Google at present enjoying catch-up), and speaking to Alexa feels nicer than speaking to Google. It is a extra snug expression.

Writing by Maggie Tillman and Britta O’Boyle. Modifying by Chris Corridor.