Google Assistant

Google Nest Hub may use proximity to save you from saying “Hey Google”

Google Nest Hub may use proximity to save you from saying “Hey Google”

Smart, AI-powered, virtual assistants are undoubtedly helpful, at least to those who have actually found uses for them. For better or worse, however, all of them have to be manually "woken up", usually by a trigger phrase. It's a bit of a hassle, especially when you're already standing in front of your smart speaker or smart display. It seems that Google is playing around with a feature that lets a Nest Hub detect your presence and automatically wake up Google Assistant, a convenience that may come at the expense of some privacy.

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Acer Halo smart speaker serves up Google Assistant with RGB and an LED display

Acer Halo smart speaker serves up Google Assistant with RGB and an LED display

Most of Acer's announcements today centered around laptops and PC gaming in some form, but one surprising reveal was that of the Halo smart speaker. Halo is powered by Google Assistant, and it almost seems like it's bringing the PC gaming treatment to smart home speakers through its RGB lighting. There's also an optional LED display, which might make the Halo stand out in a sea of other smart speakers.

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Nest Guard discontinued as Google Assistant takeover rolls on

Nest Guard discontinued as Google Assistant takeover rolls on

Back in September of 2017, Google introduced the Nest Guard home alarm, a sleek little pod with buttons on it. This system was part of the Nest Secure home security system, a system that also included the Nest Tag and the Nest Detect. It would appear that Google's decided to move away from this fob-dependent system in favor of a more touchscreen and voice-dependent reality.

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Google Smart Display update really ties the rooms together

Google Smart Display update really ties the rooms together

Google revealed a set of feature updates today for the Google Smart Display experience. This update comes to devices like the Lenovo Smart Display and Nest Hub, and will likely be the base UI for all official Google Smart Display units in the future. This new system sets all functionality in a series of five categories, including: Your Day, Home Control, Communicate, Discover, and Media.

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Google Assistant Driving Mode appears for some users and it looks different

Google Assistant Driving Mode appears for some users and it looks different

During its I/O 2019 event last year, Google introduced a new Google Assistant feature called Driving Mode, which, as its name suggests, is a special interface specifically designed for users who are driving. Whereas Android Auto is dependent on your car's infotainment center, Google Assistant Driving Mode is a new interface that you can run on your phone, enabling you to mount the handset on your car's dash and use it in place of an infotainment system.

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Google Duplex will call businesses to update their info

Google Duplex will call businesses to update their info

The pandemic has undoubtedly thrown the world's economy into disarray. Businesses that have been able to survive so far had to make adjustments to their hours and procedures. Sometimes, the last thing on these businesses' minds is to update their Google listings which, in turn, makes it actually harder to get customers. To help both groups of people, Google is putting its eerie but helpful Duplex to automate all of that with a simple phone call.

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Google Assistant can now create custom shortcuts to Android app actions

Google Assistant can now create custom shortcuts to Android app actions

Voice-controlled virtual assistants like Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple Siri have changed the way many of us interact with our phones, the Web, or even our homes. Whether it's searching for some trivial information, reading a bedtime story, or dimming the lights for movie time, these AI-powered helpers try to make life less stressful by removing the need to physically do things we could just command them to do. Ironically, Google Assistant doesn't offer that convenience on its own turf on Android when it comes to third-party apps. That all changes today as it finally learns how to bring all these apps in line and be at your beck and call.

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This new Google critical alert is a sign your account is at risk

This new Google critical alert is a sign your account is at risk

Google is launching a new security pop-up, with higher visibility for times when your account might be at risk from hackers or other exploits. The new "critical alert" will be saved for the most signifiant dangers - such as those which might, if left unaddressed, see you lose access to your Gmail or other service altogether - and will be shown in Google's mobile apps.

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Bixby Vision changes could spell trouble for Samsung’s AI

Bixby Vision changes could spell trouble for Samsung’s AI

Bixby is the AI-powered assistant nobody asked for at a time when Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa were already neck and neck in that market. It did bring at least one feature that even Google Assistant has yet to acquire but the rest of its capabilities have mostly duplicated what's already available in more devices and platforms. Now Samsung is retiring some of the features related to its Bixby Vision but while some still remain, it could be a slippery slope.

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YouTube Music improves Google Assistant integration, free tier features

YouTube Music improves Google Assistant integration, free tier features

Although Google Play Music and YouTube Music have existed side-by-side for a couple of years, the latter became rather controversial after Google decided to replace the former with it. Not everyone has been happy with the transition, with some missing core features available from Google Play Music. To its credit, YouTube Music is slowly adding those features and has today opened two more doors that could put it on par with Google's old music streaming service.

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Nest Audio vs Sonos One vs IKEA Symfonisk – Speaker Wars

Nest Audio vs Sonos One vs IKEA Symfonisk – Speaker Wars

There's no denying that the Nest Audio fills a sweet-spot in Google's smart speaker range. Long-anticipated replacement to the original Google Home, the new speaker delivers markedly better sound quality than the Nest Mini, but a much more affordable price point - not to mention smaller footprint - than the Google Home Max. No product lives in isolation, though, and the most common question I've been getting is "what about Sonos?"

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Nest Audio Review – Google Assistant gets a sound upgrade

Nest Audio Review – Google Assistant gets a sound upgrade

For a while it seemed like smart displays would be the next big thing for the Google Assistant, but the Nest Audio proves there's still a compelling one-two punch in combining voice control and streaming music. Headed to stores today, the $99.99 smart speaker replaces the old Google Home and gets audio, processing, and style upgrades along the way.

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