The latest alpha build of the Kodi media player debuts native support for Google Assistant searches on Android TV, as revealed by the changelog published by the XBMC Foundation earlier this week. The 18.0 version of the service is code-named Leia and there's still no official word on how long its development is expected to take until the new software is finalized and rolled out to the stable channel. The support for the Google Assistant is primarily targeted at enabling voice search on Android TV devices, with the feature itself requiring a manual activation in the media player's settings before it can be used.
Once enabled, the functionality will allow you to perform voice searches on Kodi by simply speaking to your Google Assistant, so long as your set-top box or TV of choice natively support the same feature. Telling your digital companion to search for any particular media or genre in your Kodi library will bring up the system search interface of Android TV which will also provide you with other voice-enabled search options. Initial reports suggest the functionality largely works as intended despite being part of an alpha build that would usually be expected to have less-than-seamless performance. Regardless, anyone interested in installing Kodi 18.0 Leia should expect to encounter bugs, some of which may even be system-breaking and require a reinstall as the experimental software comes with no guarantees of consistency or reliability.
The other major feature debuted by the same software update comes in the form of Suggested Recommendations which you'll also have to enable manually. The functionality will allow the media player to display content recommendations from your Kodi library alongside movies, TV shows, and clips you don't own but are offered by Netflix, YouTube, and Google Play Movies. The primary goal of the addition is to accelerate the process of discovering new content through Kodi, with the service also delivering personalized recommendations in other parts of the Kodi interface when you're not watching or listening to anything. The service is expected to enter the beta phase of development by spring, with both Google Assistant support and improved recommendations being likely to hit the stable build of Kodi no later than mid-2018.