Friday , December 14 2018 Ausdroid » News » Google announces many improvements for Assistant including Broadcast replies, Clock integration in routines and more

With their focus on AI, Google has been building out the functionality of the Assistant continually since it launched. Today they’ve announced a number of improvements to their Broadcast function, as well as building the Clock app on your phone into routines and much more.

Broadcasts

The Broadcast feature for smart speakers and Smart Displays will now be more of a two way street than a simple broadcast. When you’re out and sending a broadcast users listening to it will be able to respond. Google points out the usefulness while out shopping to ask ‘Do we need cranberry sauce?’ with the user at home able to reply. Replies will appear transcribed in a pop-up on your phone

We’d really love to see some improvement on syncing broadcasts so you don’t have 10 Google Homes (it gets noisy at my place) responding slightly out of sync, or an option to target a specific speaker, but that aside it’s a fairly useful feature improvement on broadcast. It’s likely more aimed at users who don’t have a phone like your kids, or for someone unable to respond to a message or call like say an elderly parent you want to check on, all of which can now respond with just their voice.

Clock in Routines

We’ve only had Routines in Google Assistant for a little while now, but there’s already improvements. Your clock app on your phone is often the start of your day, now Google will now allow you to trigger the start of a routine after you dismiss your alarm on your phone, starting things like the ‘My Day’ routine, turning on lights and more.

Cooking

One of the best use cases for Smart Displays including the Google Home Hub, Lenovo Smart Display and JBL Link View has been as a hub in the kitchen that’s helpful for budding, or experienced chefs showing recipes. Google has announced an improvement to several aspects of the cooking experience on Smart Displays including smart recommendations ‘based on the nearest meal time and whichever season it is’, you’ll also be able to save recipes to a personal cookbook.

Alarms

Alarms can be pretty boring, but Google is attempting to make them more interesting – and Kid friendly. From today you’ll be able to set alarms with voices from popular TV shows and franchises including LEGO City, LEGO Life, and LEGO Friends and from Nickelodeon’s Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, with Spin Master’s Hatchimals coming later this year.

The alarms won’t be just boring, basic alarms instead they’ll be include ‘signature music, jokes, facts, words of encouragement and other fun messages’. Google hasn’t said how available this will be, so it’s possibly US-only, and testing shows that using the trigger phrase ‘Hey Google, set a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle alarm for 8:00 PM.’ set an alarm called that, but didn’t use a TMNT theme when it went off.

Read Along Stories

Google announced expansion of their ‘Read Along Stories’ announced last month. Google is adding a new book to the read-along feature which was written by Googler Komal Singh, a program manager on the Ads Infrastructure team. The book is aimed at promoting STEM and features real-life women engineers with diverse backgrounds called ‘Ara, the Star Engineer’.

Google will expand the current Disney focused stories to include 25 new family-friendly stories by Nickelodeon. The book titles will include titles such as PAW Patrol’s “The Pups Save the Bunnies,” Dora the Explorer’s “Dora’s Super Sleepover,” Blaze and Monster Machines’ “Let’s Be Firefighters”. There’s no word on if this will be expanded to more countries, but we’re hopeful.

More Family Friendly Responses

Google is also really pushing for you to include your kids in their Family Link program, including more family friendly responses to Google Assistant powered devices. You can now receive family-friendly responses to questions about ‘dinosaurs, superheroes, arts and crafts and outer space’.

Podcasts, Assistant on Telstra

Finally, Google has improved Assistant playback of audiobooks and podcasts, allowing you to change the playback speed by saying “Hey Google, play at twice the speed” or “play faster.”

It also seems that Google is bringing the Telstra TV 2 set top box to Home View. If you missed the news, Google has worked with Telstra on allowing Assistant integration with the Telstra TV 2 set top box. You can begin playback as well as stop, pause and more with your voice using Assistant, now it appears that Home View will be supported as well.

This integration means you can see the Telstra TV2 in Home View, not that you’ll be seeing the Home View controls on your Telstra TV 2 – though we’ve engaged our Telstra TV 2 expert (Jason) to check this out more fully.

Availability

As with all Google releases we’ll have to wait and see which of these features make it to Australia. We’re not seeing the Clock integration live as yet, and the Broadcast and Cooking features will go live in the ‘coming weeks’ according to Google so we’ll have to wait for those.

Let us know if you see any of these new features live at your house.

Source: Google.

Daniel Tyson   Ausdroid's Editor in Chief

Dan is a die-hard Android fan. Some might even call him a lunatic. He's been an Android user since Android was a thing, and if there's a phone that's run Android, chances are he owns it (his Nexus collection is second-to-none) or has used it.

Dan's dedication to Ausdroid is without question, and he has represented us at some of the biggest international events in our industry including Google I/O, Mobile World Congress, CES and IFA.

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Advertorial jumper
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Advertorial jumper

Telstra tv & it’s other own home integration products are technically long behind others already available on the shelfs in office works, jb hifi etc.

The good home and home integration products are available via retail suppliers. Names such as Chromecast, Arlo, Philips hue, Alexa, Google home or assistant etc.. All integrate beautifully with your apple phones, pads and especially well with android or google phones. So take a sidestep, do your own research and you’ll likely avoid their monopolistic approach to owning you and your data services.

Wanglese
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Wanglese

I’ve setup the Telstra Tv voice integration. It’s a bit basic at the moment, I haven’t been able for instance to start YouTube and stream Fail Army videos( you can on Chromecast) or for instance play a particular program on Netflix, Foxtel or Stan, but I have been able to get it to start those services, or change channels on Live TV. So I’m expecting it to get better.

Ken
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Ken

As Bradley said – too bad we’re still waiting on continued conversation! Now when I see stories for google home or assistant upgrades I get excited for a few seconds then realise that continued conversation has been available for nearly six months in the US…. and still no word of it being available here.

Warren
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Warren

LOL, how about skip all of this stuff and just allow G Suite accounts to actually do meaningful things with Google Home.

Southpatt
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Southpatt

But when will they fix what so many want . The ability to turn off home lights silently in the dead of night when the family is sleeping. Without screaming TURNING FIVE LIGHTS OFF. And no. I don’t want to schedule quiet time

Scott
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Scott

Lol, mind control is a few years off yet mate.

Bradley
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Bradley

Still waiting on continuing conversation and different voices in Australia.

Dan maz
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Dan maz

Are you sure about replying to broadcast. I gave it a try and it did not work for me.

Gaz
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Gaz

That would be some welcoming changes. I wonder if Google will do something similar to Amazon Echo’s Drop In feature.

Mike Stevens
Ausdroid Reader

“Google points out the usefulness while out shopping to ask ‘Do we need cranberry sauce?’ with the user at home able to reply.”

omfg I love this, since my partner often has her phone on silent and tucked away somewhere on the other side of the solar system.

Adam
Ausdroid Reader

Unfortunately, as my local supermarket is a dark hole when it comes to mobile coverage (even receiving an SMS is impossible), it wouldn’t help me at all with my wife having her phone on silent.

Warren
Guest
Warren

I laughed t this pretty hard – somehow wives have a habit of ALWAYS being on social media, yet at the same time they NEVER have their phone on their person to answer a call or reply to a text when you need a quick answer to something. Life’s greatest paradox.

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