Google Brings Assistant to Google Maps

CES conference

US government officials have pulled out of the biggest annual tech conference Credit AFP

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. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant had a major presence at CES, both at their own sizable booths and around the show floor. Google Assistant will be directly integrated into speakers with voice input, while older models will work in conjunction with Google Home and similar smart speakers. Say "Hey Google, be my French interpreter", to get real-time spoken or written translations to help you with local languages.

Real-time machine-assisted translated conversations are becoming increasingly popular, though options are still limited.

Pixel users can access Google Assistant even when their Android device is locked. For those on Android, the Assistant integration will be a nice addition to Maps when they are driving. It can also reply to text messages, search for places along your route, add new destinations, and auto-punctuate your messages.

"On Android, the Assistant works with messaging services from the following providers: SMS, WhatsApp, Messenger, Hangouts, Viber, Telegram, Android Messages and more", reads an excerpt from the same January 8th media release. The company said it expected to hit a billion devices with Assistant by the end of the month on over 10,000 different devices from more than 1,000 brands. It uses the existing smart home platform to expand to new device types.

But Google Assistant's latest trick has me re-thinking that for the first time. Like, the Sonos One and Sonos Beam speakers will be getting the Assistant. There are no details as to which older speakers will be updated to include Google Assistant support but our fingers are crossed for all Sonos owners. If there is a check-in available, Assistant will send a notification to remind you about it. 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.

During its event, Google also announced youll be able to manage flights with Assistant, including checking in getting a digital boarding pass.

When you make a request, the Google Assistant must not only understand the language you're using and your speech, but it also has to recognize the intent of what you're asking and the context. You can say, "Hey Google, I'd like to book the Cambria Hotel in NY on January 12th", to see pricing and availability, and pay through Google Pay.

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