You probably ask Google 100 things every day – but now you’re going to do it with your voice instead of your keyboard. And Google’s even built a new smart speaker for you to converse with.
The search titan’s head honcho Sundar Pichai kicked off the I/O dev conference with Google Assistant, the latest version of the “OK Google” voice assistant built into Android and Chrome.
Sure, you can get the basics, like the current weather, or who won the FA Cup in 1992, but it knows a lot more and can hold a conversation too.
Want to watch a film tonight? Just ask what’s on. It’s family night rather than date night? Just say “We want to bring the kids to this one” and it’ll bring up PG-friendly showings and ask if you want to book a ticket. Say yes and it’ll buy your tickets, putting a QR code on your phone so you can walk right through the lobby and into the theatre.
It certainly looked cool in Google’s demo, but a smarter smartphone is only half the story – Google’s working on an Amazon Echo rival called Google Home too.
Built-in speaker and microphone? Check. Chromecast Audio support? Check – just ask for an album and it’ll start playing on one speaker, and you can set it to stream to every Google Home speaker at once, multi-room style.
It plays nicely with the Chromecast plugged into your TV, too. Ask for a YouTube video, on demand TV show or Google Play movie, and it’ll load it straight onto the big screen.
With no buttons, subtle LEDs and removable fabric shells that mean you can customise each speaker to match the room it’s in, Google Home looks that little bit slicker than Amazon’s Echo. It works with Smart Home tech like Nest smoke detectors, thermostats and webcams, too.
Google is still tweaking the design and features, but expect to see Google Home in homes later this year.