Google at CES 2019 announced it is bringing several new features to the Google Assistant and showed off some cool devices that it says will be using the voice assistant. Among the new features is the Google Assistant's Interpreter Mode as well as fresh integration in the Google Maps apps on Android and iOS. Additionally, the Mountain View-based company showed off a cute little Smart Clock from Lenovo as well as a bunch of upcoming car accessories from Anker and JBL that will include Google Assistant.
The new feature is aimed at helping the consumers communicate in a dozen languages and will be available on the Google Home devices as well as Assistant-powered Smart Displays. Essentially, people can ask Google Assistant to be their personal interpreter and it will provide real-time spoken (on Google Home) or written (on smart displays) translations to help you and the other person understand what each of you are saying. Google has earlier tried a similar auto-translation feature in its Pixel Buds.
The search giant notes that the Interpreter Mode is rolling out to the compatible devices over the next few weeks and will support a total of 27 languages. Some of these languages are Arabic, Hindi, Chinese, English, French, German, Russian, Thai, and Korean.
Google Assistant in Google Maps
Google has revealed that it is baking the Assistant right in the Google Maps apps on Android and iOS devices. While Android users typically have the Assistant preloaded on their devices, it is going to be a bigger deal for iOS devices, which have a massive Maps install base.
According to the company, the Assistant in Maps will allow the consumers to share their ETA with friends and family, reply to text messages, play music, search for places, and add a new stop in navigation. What's more, the Assistant will even auto-punctuate your messages now, so you don't have to dictate punctuation marks as well.
Google Assistant Connect
In its bid to make Google Assistant an even dominant platform, the Mountain View company has announced that it is launching a preview of its new Google Assistant Connect platform that will allow the device manufacturers to easily integrate the Assistant in their products. Google notes that the Connect platform expands on the existing smart home platform to add more device types. The company will offer more information on the platform later this year.
Lenovo Smart Clock
Among the new Google Assistant devices that the search giant talks about in its official blog post, Lenovo's new Smart Clock is probably the most exciting. This Smart Clock - unveiled at CES 2019 - comes with 4-inch touchscreen and will go on sale this Spring with a price-tag of $79 (roughly Rs. 5,500). The device can manage your routines, wake you up with auto-adjusting brightness and animations, and control your smart home devices. You will also have access to the usual set of Google Assistant features.
More Google Assistant-powered devices
Apart from the Lenovo Smart Clock, Google has revealed that several other device makers are planning to include the digital assistant in their devices. Like, the Sonos One and Sonos Beam speakers will be getting the Assistant. The company also noted that the existing units of both smart speakers will be getting a software update to add the Assistant support.
Additionally, Anker and JBL are building car accessories with Google Assistant support. Two of their first devices will be Anker Roav Bolt and JBL Link Drive. The Anker Roav Bolt is a smart car charger with far-field microphones and dual-USB ports. It can connect with any car's on-board infotainment system via Bluetooth or auxiliary cable. The Roav Bolt is now on pre-order at $49.99 (roughly Rs. 3,500) and the shipping will start April 2019. The JBL Link Drive is similar to Anker Roav Bolt and packs dual-noise cancelling microphones and connect to your car via Bluetooth or an aux cable. It will go on sale this Spring at $59.99 (roughly Rs. 4,200).
Additionally, the Google Assistant is getting a new feature for the Philips Hue bulb that is aimed at helping you wake up. Using the new “Gently Wake Up” feature, the Philips Hue lights in your bedroom will simulate the sunrise 30 mins before your alarm goes off.
Google Assistant and travel
For the US consumers, Google is introducing a couple of new features in the Assistant that will enable them to do a lot more than just search for flights. The consumers will soon be able to check-in to their flights as well as save or retrieve their boarding pass in Google Assistant on Android phones or iPhone. Additionally, Google Assistant will also alert if your flight is ready for Web check-in. Initially, the support will be limited to domestic flights of the United Airlines, but the company hopes to add more airlines and flights soon.
This is not all, Assistant can now also book hotels for you. Hotel bookings are also limited to just US right now. There is no word on when either of the feature will be released for the international consumers.
Lock-screen support in all Android phones
Google Assistant has long worked for the Pixel users on their lock-screens, but soon all Android users will be able to do the same. Google has announced that rolling out the lock-screen support in Google Assistant over the next few weeks for all Android phones. After getting the update simply head over to Assistant settings and opt-in.