Google Assistant was big news at CES 2019, with Google announcing its digital assistant would be of more help everywhere in 2019, from your home to your car and of course on your phone.
At the annual electronics show, the search giant also unveiled Assistant partnerships with Samsung, Lenovo and McAfee and announced that Assistant would be available on one billion devices by the end of this month.
Here are 10 ways to take advantage of the digital-assistant improvements and make most of your Google Assistant in 2019:
1. Google Maps
Starting this week Google will integrate Assistant into Google Maps on iPhones and Android phones (download for iOS or Android). Adding Assistant to Maps gives drivers more control over navigation, replying to texts, music controls and more.
Users will also be able to use Assistant to send messages on social media services, including your ETA. And having more voice commands should mean less distractions behind the wheel as drivers can keep their eyes on the road as they control their phone.
2. Sonos speakers support
Sonos' smart speakers will add support for Google Assistant this year. The company's goal is to have the Assistant control all of the Sonos-supported devices. At CES, Sonos specifically mentioned Pandora (download for iOS or Android) and Google Play Music (download for iOS or Android) as a few of the services you will be able to control with your voice.
Sonos already works with Amazon's Alexa. A downside to the integration of Assistant is that you won't be able to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant simultaneously. And you can't toggle between them either, according to CNET, so you'll have to pick one or the other during your smart speaker set up.
3. Samsung TV support
Your 2019 Samsung TV will soon take commands from Google Assistant. The integration will let you turn the TV on or off, control the volume, choose channels and launch apps like Netflix.
Alexa also works with Samsung TVs, and Samsung said it will still use its own personal assistant Bixby to power remote-based voice commands and on-screen results, CNET reported.
In addition, Samsung customers can expect to see iTunes movies and TV shows on 2019 smart TVs.
4. Dish DVR and Assistant
5. Better travel tools
In addition to a slew of new voice commands to help while you are traveling, Google Assistant will be able to check you into your flight. If you say "Hey Google, check in to my flight," the Assistant can walk you through the check-in process for domestic flights, starting now with United Airlines. The perk is that you don't need a confirmation number as long as the flight confirmation went through your Gmail account.
Google has also partnered with Choice Hotels, Priceline and other companies so you can book a hotel room with Assistant.
6. Lenovo Smart Clock
If you don't want to use the Google Hub or your phone in your bedroom or office to keep track of time, Google partnered with Lenovo to create a Smart Clock. The 4-inch touchscreen responds to all the commands that your Google Home or Home Mini does because Assistant is built in.
The Smart Clock can suggest alarms based on your calendar. When your scheduled alarm is about to sound, the screen gradually gets brighter. Tapping the top once snoozes your alarm, while tapping twice dismisses the alarm and starts your morning routine.
7. Assistant Connect for developers
To help developers build Google Assistant functionality into third-party devices, Google introduced Google Assistant Connect. Connect is an expensive chipset that lets the third-party device connect to nearby Google smart devices and deliver different types of assistance.
8. Interpreter mode
To better compete with Alexa and Siri, Google is upping its translation game. Assistant Interpreter mode acts as a go-between for people who don't speak the same language. For now, the feature will be available in smart displays like Home Hub and will eventually come to smartphones.
To use it, say "Hey Google, be my Spanish interpreter." The device will beep and prompt you to start talking. After you say your sentence, the program will recite your sentence in Spanish. Interpreter has 27 languages so far including Thai, Spanish, Czech, Hindi and Vietnamese.
9. Car accessories
Google announced the JBL Link Drive to give users hands-free access to Assistant on the road, putting Google Home tech into your car.
The JBL Link Drive plugs into your car's power source, and its noise-canceling microphone can easily hear you say "Hey Google." Bluetooth connects your smartphone to the Drive so your hands can stay on the wheel at all times. The device will be available this spring for $60.
Anker also announced a smart charger that works with Google's Assistant and includes noise-cancelling technology to let the the device hear voice commands clearly over road noise.
10. Assistant will work on locked Android phone
To make its software even more accessible, the search giant is making it possible to use Assistant when your Android phone is locked. Now, if you're driving, cooking, working out or just wanting to ask a quick question, Assistant can respond without your needing to unlock your phone.
You need to opt in to this feature to let Assistant display answers on the screen. It's available right now on Pixel phones and is rolling out to other Android devices over the coming weeks.
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