For the past two years or so, Google’s events have revolved around the themes of AI and, in ways consumers can understand, Google Assistant. The recent Made by Google event, a.k.a. Pixel event, was no different. Yes, Google brought out a couple of new devices and bundles, but the one thing that connects them all together isn’t Android, much less Chrome OS. Yes, it’s Google Assistant. And guess what? Google didn’t have time to say everything it wanted to. So here are some of the things that are still coming in next weeks and months that aim to make your devices smarter so that you can be too.
While the Pixel 3 was definitely the highlight of the event, the new Google Home Hub garnered as much interest. Smaller than already existing smart displays, the Home Hub represents how Google envisions the connected home should be. But to keep things fair between what Google sells and what it has enabled its hardware partners to make, Google will roll out an update that will put all smart displays on equal footing.
Perhaps the biggest part of that update is the multi-room audio feature. That means you will be able to use the speakers on those smart displays to add another member to your smart home band. This joins the ability to check your door with Nest Hello Doorbell support, see your best Google Photos in Live Albums, and have a single place to view all your smart home devices in Home View.
Of course, Google Assistant isn’t just on smart displays or smart speakers. It did, after all, start on your smartphone. Google Assistant is also gaining some new skills on Google’s handsets. For all smartphones with Google Assistant, you will be able to see a visual snapshot of what you have planned, recommendations, recent notes, and anything else you need to get through your day. Pixel 3 owners will soon also be able to use Google Assistant right from their lockscreen.
With the increasing number of smart displays and smart speakers in homes, parents are getting worried about the almost unrestricted access their younger children might have to features and information that may not be ready for yet. Don’t worry, Google’s got your back as well. As part of its Digital Wellbeing thrust, the Google Home app will soon have a “Filters” setting to manage what kids can get access to and a “Downtime” schedule to make sure they don’t go beyond bedtime.
These new features will be rolling out in the coming weeks, with the update to smart displays happening by the end of October. Subtle or obvious, it is clear that Google is pushing Google Assistant to be the center of the modern digital life, to do the heavy lifting for us and, ironically, leave us fewer excuses to forget a meeting or not know how to make a 15-minute taco.