Google Assistant

Google Guest Mode launched for smart home devices

Google Guest Mode launched for smart home devices

On the 13th of January, 2021, Google announced the launch of Guest Mode. They've revealed this feature as "another easy way to control your privacy on smart speakers and Smart Displays." That includes Google Nest and Google Home speakers as well as a number of Google-embedded Smart Displays. This system was launched in English, first, and will likely spread to other devices and languages in the near future.

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Turn off your Alexa when you’re done: A quick reminder

Turn off your Alexa when you’re done: A quick reminder

If you got a new Amazon Echo Dot for Christmas, consider turning it off. Chances are you got the device as a gift, opened it immediately, and got to work asking about the weather, movie facts, and told it to sing a song. If you're like me, chances are you then sat the device on a shelf and forgot about it. It's probably still powered up and listening to you right now.

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Google Assistant smart displays reveal expanded realm of games

Google Assistant smart displays reveal expanded realm of games

Today the folks at Google revealed a set of new interactive games available for Google Assistant-enabled smart displays. This move should be well-appreciated by the smart display gift-receivers this holiday season, as well as those that've had smart display devices sitting on their countertop this year awaiting new projects and/or activities for the deep dark of winter.

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Samsung SmartThings will soon let you control Nest devices

Samsung SmartThings will soon let you control Nest devices

For those looking to get a smart home set up rolling, there are a number of ecosystems to choose from - Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, Nest, the list goes on. Generally speaking, these ecosystems don't feature a ton of interoperability with one another, but that might be starting to change. Today, Samsung and Google announced that they're teaming up to allow compatibility between SmartThings, Nest, and Google Assistant devices.

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Google Assistant now supports multiple Calendar, Meet accounts

Google Assistant now supports multiple Calendar, Meet accounts

Smart speakers and, later, smart displays are often advertised as the ultimate smart home convenience. It's a device that the entire family can use to be productive, creative, and entertained without having to whip out their phones. That premise, however, falls flat when it comes to trying to access events and appointments stored on Google Calendar or Google Meet. Google Assistant just doesn't know how to juggle multiple calendars yet, just like most humans, but it seems that Google is finally testing out the functionality that will make it smarter about different Calendar and Meet accounts.

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Apple Music on Google Home smart speakers brings Assistant and Nest to the party

Apple Music on Google Home smart speakers brings Assistant and Nest to the party

Google has added Apple Music support to its smart home system, meaning subscribers can now ask the Google Assistant to play tracks on their Nest Audio and other smart speakers. The new integration further bridges the divide between Apple and Google's media and smart home platforms, which can at times prove a headache for those trying to make the most of all their content subscriptions across all their devices.

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Google Assistant adds scheduling for a smarter smart home

Google Assistant adds scheduling for a smarter smart home

Google has quietly added support for scheduling actions with the Google Assistant, with the new feature allowing for smart home tech like lights to be switched on and off according to what time it is or for the duration you want them active. It builds on the existing smart home integration, which lets the Assistant remotely control registered lights, smart plugs, and other devices by voice command.

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Samsung’s Smart TV Google Assistant support is spreading

Samsung’s Smart TV Google Assistant support is spreading

Samsung is giving its smart TVs a voice control boost, expanding Google Assistant support in its latest sets and in the process taking the array of AIs you can chat with to three. The latest 2020 Samsung smart TVs already offered Amazon Alexa along with Samsung's own Bixby, and now owners will be be able to switch between all three.

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Fitbit Sense, Versa 3 now put Google Assistant on your wrist

Fitbit Sense, Versa 3 now put Google Assistant on your wrist

The acquisition deal might still be incomplete but Google and Fitbit are already bridging the gap between the two's distinct wearable platforms. No, Fitbit still has its own operating system but this latest update to version 5.1 puts at least two of its smartwatches closer to Google's Wear OS. Going beyond Amazon Alexa, Fitbit is now opening the Sense's and Versa 3's doors to Google Assistant while also adding more health monitoring features that make the smartwatches even better than before.

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Google Assistant update makes it easier to keep track of your family

Google Assistant update makes it easier to keep track of your family

Google has announced a number of new Assistant features, including the ability for kids to check on their parents' current location. Google says the new features will help families stay organized, entertained, and in contact with each other -- features that will be particularly useful during this disrupted holiday season.

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Google’s 2020 Halloween treats: AR ghosts, spooky ringtones, magic cats

Google’s 2020 Halloween treats: AR ghosts, spooky ringtones, magic cats

Google is one of the companies offering some fun digital treats for Halloween this year, ones that you can enjoy using your phone and, for Nest owners, your smart doorbell. The content includes new AR experiences involving ghosts and skeletons, as well as special spooky doorbell ringtones for Halloween, and even new Google Assistant fun.

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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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