If you use an Android phone, then the Google Assistant (Android, iOS) may already be embedded in your life -- helping to schedule your calendar, place calls, send texts, and stream media, for example -- but the company is always expanding the app with more features. Today, they've added a batch of seven new abilities, some of which we heard about at the Google I/O conference last summer.
The "Pretty Please" feature headlines Google's list. With it enabled, saying "Please" with your Assistant commands can now produce some unique responses from her, like "Thanks for asking so nicely." The idea pitched last summer is that you're teaching younger users to mind their manners when asking for things.
And in case Google AI ends up taking over the world like something out of a sci-fi movie, you'll have banked some good faith that may save you from Martian slave pits and re-education camps.
Pretty Please is enabled now in the app, and for Google's smart speakers and smart displays. There's no setting to enable or disable -- the Assistant just has additional responses when you ask nicely.
Google's also added the long-awaited ability to create and manage lists with the Assistant, instead of having to use the Keep Notes app (Android, iOS) separately. The company says that it will be adding Keep Notes integration soon, as well as support for Any.do, Bring!, and Todoist. You'll basically have no excuse now if you forget to pick up that loaf of bread on your way home from work.
Next up is a handy new feature for the company's smart displays like the Google Home Hub. These are now integrated with the Nest Hello video doorbell, allowing you to answer the door using your Hub instead of talking face-to-face. (Nest Labs is a subsidiary of Google.) So now you can screen your visitors to let guests in and deliveries get handled, while avoiding solicitors and other uninvited rabble.
When someone rings this Nest doorbell, a big blue "Talk" button will pop on your Google-compatible smart display, and you just tap on it to begin your conversation.
Speaking of screening, Google has selected 50 free audiobooks that the Assistant can read to your kids when you tuck them in at night. Starting today, that collection includes picks from Nickelodeon like Dora the Explorer, PAW Patrol, and Monster Machines. If you want something more traditional, she can also do classics like "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and "Swan Lake."
Last but not least, we should also call out the new Broadcast Replies feature. With this, you can use Google Assistant on your phone to speak through your smart displays at home like an intercom. The company adds, "Starting next week, you can also reply back from a smart speaker or Smart Display to your phone or other Home devices."
Check Google's blog entry to see the full list of updates for Google Home and the Assistant.
- The Google Assistant now has several new features that work with the company's smart speakers and displays, for everything from teaching your children some manners to reading them bedtime stories.
- The Nest Hello video doorbell (smart doorbell?) can also now integrate with the Google Home Hub to show you who's come to your door, allowing you to screen visitors without having to give them facetime.
- Google disabled some smart suggestions in Gmail due to gender bias in AI
- Duplex chat agent testing expands to Google Assistant app
- Google pulls 13 malicious Android apps that were downloaded more than half a million times
- Google Pixel Slate is the Mirror Universe iPad Pro (CNET)
- Google improves Bluetooth Fast Pairing feature for Android, Chromebook devices (ZDNet)
- Google's Night Sight AI sees the light (TechRepublic)