CES 2020: Google Assistant gets a slew of new features

By Prakhar Khanna | Published on 08 Jan 2020
CES 2020: Google Assistant gets a slew of new features
HIGHLIGHTS

Google Assistant will now be able to read long-form articles out loud.

Scheduled Actions will let users ask their Google Assistant to do a task in the future.

All the new Google Assistant features will roll out "later this year."

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Google has made a few announcements for Google Assistant at CES 2020. The company also revealed that the voice assistant is now available on more than 1 billion devices, and is used by more than 500 million people every month. Google Assistant is active on a range of devices including smart speakers, phones, TVs, cars, smart displays. Here are all the new features coming to Google Assistant in the smart device near you this year.

Webpage Reading

The company has previewed the ability to read long-form articles out loud using Google Assistant. A user needs to say “Hey Google, read it” or “Hey Google, read this page” and the assistant will read the page that’s on the screen. According to Google, this experience is unlike traditional screen readers as it is built on “new voice datasets to create more expressive and more natural sounding voices.” Moreover, the content can be translated into 42 languages, including Hindi, German or Spanish. The feature will be made available on Android phones later this year on Android version 5 and above.

Scheduled Actions

Basically, Scheduled Actions will let users ask their Google Assistant to do a task in the future. For example, users can ask Google Assistant to turn on/ off or start/ stop compatible devices at the time of their choosing - “Hey Google, run the coffee maker at 6 am” and the connected smart device should do the task at the mentioned time. This feature is rolling out later this year as well. It will let users control more than 20 new devices, including AC units, air purifiers, bathtubs, coffee makers, vacuums and more, from the Google Home app.

Expansion of Interpreter Mode

Announced at CES last year, interpreter mode allows a smart device powered by Google Assistant to translate a conversation between two people, each speaking a different language. The company says more businesses have committed to using it this year. The feature will expand to new public places like airports, airport lounges, banks, organisations managing live sporting events, organizations aiding humanitarian efforts, hospitality management, and more hotels.

Sticky Notes

This feature is aimed at smart displays. It will add the ability to create household notes on the screen for members of the house to see the tasks done before you left. For instance, a user can say, “Hey Google, leave a note that says I already fed Max breakfast,” and it will be displayed on the smart display as a sticky note. It can be created by anyone without the need to sign in. It is scheduled to roll out later this year.
Speed Dial

Similar to Sticky Notes feature, Speed Dial will enable Google Assistant users to set up speed dial contacts to quickly and easily make calls. Anyone can create pre-set contact easily. It is scheduled to roll out later this year as well.

Focus on Privacy Settings

With each update, Google focuses on adding more and more privacy-related features. This time it has made some privacy-related tweaks to Google Assistant, and users will easily be able to access privacy controls via the voice assistant. For instance, users can ask questions like, “how do you keep my information private?” 

While Google Assistant isn’t supposed to record anything you say unless you start the sentence with “Hey Google,” there are times when the Assistant gets activated when it is not meant to, like while watching TV or a YouTube video. With that in mind, users will now be able to say “Hey Google, that wasn’t for you” to have it wipe its history of the last thing they said.

For more CES coverage from Digit, click here.

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Prakhar Khanna

I write about tech stuff and tell (stupid) jokes

Digit caters to the largest community of tech buyers, users and enthusiasts in India. The all new Digit in continues the legacy of Thinkdigit.com as one of the largest portals in India committed to technology users and buyers. Digit is also one of the most trusted names when it comes to technology reviews and buying advice and is home to the Digit Test Lab, India's most proficient center for testing and reviewing technology products.

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