CES 2019: Google Assistant gets smarter with new interpretation and navigation tools

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Google Assistant will soon be able to automatically check users into flights and reply to text messages from user voice commands, the tech giant has announced.

The technology giant’s artificial intelligence-based virtual assistant is also to get an interpreter mode to help conduct conversations in dozen of languages using both audio and visual cues, Google said.

The new features are to be introduced during 2019, the company said, during its appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

(Google)
(Google)

Manuel Bronstein, the vice president of product for Google Assistant, said the company wanted to increase the ability of its software across a wider range of locations.

“By bringing the best of Google services and AI to the Assistant, we’re focused on building the most helpful digital assistant when you’re at home, in your car or on the go,” he said.

Google’s Assistant is involved in an ongoing rivalry with Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri and Samsung Bixby over the crown of most popular voice assistant.

The new interpretation tool will launch when users say phrases such as “Hey Google, be my French interpreter”, and will give real time spoken and written translation to aid conversation, Google says.

“We see this technology expanding to more places, such as helping you check in at a foreign hotel or helping you understand the bus schedule when you’re travelling internationally or don’t speak the local language well,” Mr Bronstein said.

The US firm also announced a new platform called Google Assistant Connect, which it says will enable different third-party device manufacturers to insert the Assistant into their devices.

An update to the Assistant in Google Maps has also been announced, enabling users to use voice commands to share their arrival time with friends or family as well as reply to text messages – with the Assistant taking down voice dictation – while users continue to navigate using Maps.

At CES, Google and Lenovo also revealed a new Smart Clock – a device likely to be seen as a rival to Amazon’s Echo Spot smart speaker.

The Lenovo Smart Clock has a four-inch touchscreen and users can see alarm suggestions based on your daily routines and control other smart home devices, Google said.

Chris Price
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