Just a couple days before the world's biggest smartphone convention kicks off in Barcelona, Google is rolling out updates for a number of its most interesting Android features.
It seems like every new wireless speaker on the market comes with a voice assistant now. Since 2014, when Amazon announced the Echo, the idea of a smart speaker has taken the gadget world by storm. Apple has finally thrown its hat into the ring with the release of the HomePod, leaving us to wonder which smart speaker is the best smart speaker. So we tested them to find out.
Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.
One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.
Yesterday, a report from Bloomberg came out saying that Samsung will launch a Bixby-powered smart speaker sometime in the first half of 2018. This really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone since DJ Koh already told CNBC back in August that the company was indeed trying to put its digital assistant, which first debuted on the Galaxy S8, into a smart speaker.
This February Google finally brought the Google Assistant from the Pixel and Google Home to other Android devices, but they were newer products such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 and HTC 10. Older phone owners were stuck with upgrading or going Assistant-less. That changes now. The company announced on Wednesday that Google Assistant is now coming to some older devices.
Thanks in large part to the low-cost Echo Dot, Amazon grabbed an early lead in the smart speaker space. But this spring Google hit back hard with the Home Mini, which has become the best cheap smart speaker to buy for most people. Unfortunately, shortly after its launch, a bug affecting the top touch controls in some Home Minis caused Google to disable the feature in order to prevent its device from recording audio at all times.
Despite all the time and energy companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon and others have spent stressing the importance of AI, actual progress doesn't always feel that swift. That's because after about a year on the market, the Google Home has just gotten the ability to do two things at once.
Even with all the screen issues, weird buzzing noises, and unbalanced speaker performance on Google's Pixel 2, there's an even bigger issue that's been bugging me. The problem isn't restricted to just that single device -- and in fact, it actually crept up about six months ago when Samsung released the Galaxy S8.
Google Assistant is keen on taking as big a role in your life as possible, and to that end Google keeps pouring new features into the app, whether it's on your phone, your dinky smart speaker, your Pixelbook, or your Nvidia Shield. Here are 7 capabilities that the Assistant has been given that you might not have made use of yet - we've specifically tested them on phones, but they should work to some extent on other devices too.
A little over an hour into Google's Pixel 2 event yesterday, Senior Director of Product Management Sabrina Ellis did something unusual: She squeezed the new smartphone. Then, without tapping a single button, she said the words "take a selfie," held the phone up in the air, and snapped a group shot with the packed conference room.
Even though Nvidia's Shield TV has been out for a while, in many ways, it's Android's answer to the recently revamped Apple TV 4K. Like the Apple TV, the Shield TV can stream media in 4K and HDR, in addition to having built-in Chromecast support, access to all your regular Android apps, and the ability to stream full on PC games from a nearby computer or Nvidia's servers in the cloud. And now that the Shield TV is getting Google Assistant support, not only does it combine all the features in both the new Amazon Echo and Fire TV, it can function as a full blown Google Home too.
Even though it feels like we're still processing all of Apple's latest devices and announcements, it's time to switch gears and prepare for what's coming on the other side of of the smartphone divide. That's because Google's big fall event is less than a week a way, and it's going to have important news for anyone who cares about Android, smartphones, Chromebooks and anything else Google can figure out how to puts its digital assistant in.
As of today, Google has launched Actions on Google for the Australian version of Google Assistant... and what that actually means is that one day soon, you might be able to 'OK Google' your way into more of the different apps and services on the Google Home that you use every day.
When it comes to homebrew projects, Google is actually a pretty cool company. Unlike some of its rivals in Silicon Valley -- particularly in Cupertino -- the search giant sometimes likes to help people hack into its hardware and make it their own. The latest example of this fine tradition helped one crafty British man turn a vintage intercom into a working version of a Google Home.
We all know Apple's game by now. Wait in the wings while all of the other companies fuck up while trying to innovate, and then, just when it seems almost too late, introduce a product that does the same thing as everybody else's product, but better. This is bound to be true with the rumoured Siri speaker. The idea is oddly exciting.
Released last year, Google Assistant hasn't really proven itself useful outside of checking the weather, searching Google, or setting an alarm using voice commands. So far it's been limited to basic features that are more than matched by other smart assistants like Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri. But Google is trying to change that.