Google Brought Its Assistant Updates A-Game To CES 2020

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Google has taken to CES 2020 to reveal a plethora of updates it expects to launch for its AI Assistant 'later this year'. The actions and features have each been laid out by the company in conjunction with the event. But most are relatively straightforward.

For instance, Google says that users will soon be able to use Scheduled Actions to do precisely what that implies just like they already do with alarms. But no routines will be needed to accomplish that once enabled.

Other features were already well-known in advance. In late December, Google decided to vastly expand the number of appliances that Google Assistant works with. The company has reiterated that, pointing to more universal support for everything from AC units and air purifiers to bathtubs, coffee makers, and vacuums. In total, the company will add 20 device categories in 2020.

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What are Google's big plans for Assistant post-CES 2020?

The most impactful change coming through over the course of 2020 may, at its surface, seem to be the smallest. Namely, Google says that setting up devices to link to Assistant will soon be easier. Right now, Google forces users to go through the process of searching an app or service in the Google Home app. In the future, dedicated device apps will show a notification that "suggests" finishing setup in the Home app via Assistant.

No further credential entry would be needed at that point, with the setup already completed in the manufacturer's own app.

Smart home users who own smart TV's are getting good news this year too. To begin with, Google is enabling Far-field Android TV support beginning with Hisense and TCL sets. That means that users will be able to talk to their televisions as they would a smart hub. For clarity, the television should be interactive in almost exactly the same way as Google or Nest Home speakers.

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Falling in line with that, Samsung Smart TVs that pack in voice-features will gain the same feature via direct Google Assistant integration. That's applicable to Samsung TVs launching in 2020.

With Google listening in more places than ever, the search giant is also making privacy easier and allowing the deletion of voice commands. Specifically, that's the ability to delete voice recordings from Google Assistant's history log. Now, users can simply tell Google to "delete everything I said to you this week" and the system will automatically complete the action. For individual accidental recordings, users can simply tell Google "that wasn't for you."

Google Assistant will soon be able to read out long-form articles and web pages in as many as 42 languages too. Speculatively, the page will scroll as it's read aloud. Users simply need to activate Assistant with "Hey" or "Okay Google" followed by the command "read this page."

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Commands for smart displays are coming too

The final two feature updates slated to arrive for Google Assistant following the announcement at CES 2020 apply primarily to smart displays.

The first is a feature Google plans to add that will incorporate speed dialing into smart displays. The company indicates that a tap or voice controls will be implemented to make that possible. And it will work with a list of contacts that are frequently accessed and called from a given display. The obvious goal here is to speed up the process of making smart home hub-based calls.

Finally, Google is planning to add Smart Display Sticky Notes. Those will work just like a post-it note would but without the hassle of writing everything down and finding a good place to stick it. Instead, users can simply tell Assistant to "leave a note" followed by the intended contents of that note. The note will be displayed on-screen for household users to view when they walk past or interact with the device.

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