Google has announced a range of all-new Google Assistant features aimed designed to radically improve its digital butler.
A lot of the updates are focused on use in the home –scheduling actions for smart home devices, leaving notes for family members with your voice and more. Another useful addition is the ability to ask Google Assistant to read a web page or article that’s open on your phone.
One of the handiest additions announced by Google at CES is the arrival of scheduled actions. They will be available later this year and allow users to power on, or off, a compatible device at a pre-planned time. Google came up with the handy example: “Hey Google, run the coffee maker at 6 a.m.”.
The company is hoping that, by making Google Assistant more versatile and accessible, it can gain some ground on the competition, Amazon’s ‘Alexa’ assistant.
Amazon Alexa is more popular than Google Assistant but is, in some respects, less user friendly. The consensus seems to be that Amazon’s voice assistant is slightly more likely than Google’s to not understand a command or question from the user.
Google said, in a press release: “We’ve come a long way in making it easier to set up smart devices with the Google Assistant, and we’ll continue working to make the experience faster and devices easier to find through your phone.”
Equally important is the fact that more and more brands are now making devices compatible with the assistant. Philips Hue lighting, MerossSmart’s garage door opener and August Smart Locks are three particularly practical examples.
Not so long ago voice-controlled smart home tech seemed like a futuristic idea but, as Google and Amazon further develop their assistants, and brands build more compatible products, smart home tech is becoming more useful and more normal.