Google has a gigantic presence at CES 2019, where it has announced a number of new Assistant features, integrations and potentially a game-changing Assistant Connect platform to expand the AI tool’s reach.
First up, the Assistant will soon feature a new Interpreter Mode that will be a “translator across dozens of languages”. In the next few weeks, Google Home and Smart Display users will be able to say “Hey Google, be my French [or insert language of choice] interpreter” to receive real-time spoken and/or written translations.
Related: CES 2019 Day 3
Google says the tech will eventually expand to more places, which could help users check into foreign hotels, or understand the bus schedule in a new location. The feature is currently being piloted as Caesars Palace in Las Vegas ahead of the wider roll out.
On the subject of travel, Google is also enabling iOS and Android users to check into their flight using their voice, without needing to remember the confirmation number.
Starting with domestic flights with United Airlines in the US, the Assistant will be able to leverage the information stored within a Google account. After check in, it’ll go one step further by retrieving and saving your boarding pass from the airline.
Sticking with the theme, Google Maps will soon benefit from a little Assistant assistance. While travelling, users will be able to command the tool to share the ETA, search for places along the route, add a new stop, as well as replying to messages and controlling media playback.
However, perhaps the biggest news long term is the launch of Google Assistant Connect, a new SDK the company says is “a platform that device manufacturers can use to bring the Google Assistant into devices in an affordable and easy-to-implement way. Connect uses the existing smart home platform to expand to new device types while making device setup and discovery simple for people.”
Google says, for example, a Connect partner could create an e-ink display for a bathroom mirror (main picture) that projects the weather or a calendar with information fed from a Google Assistant-based display or smart speaker. It promises to reveal more about the platform and how device owners can get involved later this year.
Elsewhere Google announced new a new Smart Display from KitchenAid and a new Smart Clock from Lenovo that’s designed to rival the Amazon Echo Spot. It also showcased the Assistant working on Sonos speakers, following a long, long delay.
Finally, Google announced new integrations with a range of new smart home devices, including a pressure cooker, refrigerators, ovens and dishwashers as well as thermostats, water leak sensors, EV chargers, irrigation timers and the McAfee Secure platform.
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