The Google Assistant is going places this year, hopping between smart displays, cars, headphones, and TVs from various partners. The company is competing with Amazon’s Alexa for dominance and this may just help give it an edge.
The big shocker is, of course, the announcement that Google is teaming up with companies like Lenovo, Sony, JBL, and LG to launch smart displays. It’s basically the Google Home with a screen, a direct Amazon Echo Show rival. What’s surprising is that the search giant didn’t make one itself.
Rumor has it that Google is indeed planning to make a display-equipped Home, so chances are that 2018 will see the debut of that device. Till then, you can check out what its partners have to offer. Lenovo’s planning to charge $199 for its 8-inch Smart Display and $249 for its 10-inch one. There’s no concrete release date for any model except for a vague summer 2018 promise.
With a display in its grasp, the Assistant can show users YouTube videos, a simple skill which Alexa can’t perform since Google pulled the platform from the Echo Show. The former is also able to do things like find images in Photos, make video calls via Duo, show a list of appointments, and display a Maps route.
Google’s also porting the Assistant to other voice-activated speakers made by the likes of LG, Bang & Olufsen, Altec Lansing, and iHome. It’s doing the same for Android TVs such as the LG U+, Xiaomi, AirTV Player, and Skyworth.
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Google’s even blessing headphones made by Jaybird, Sony, LG, and JBL with Assistant. People will be able to talk to the AI assistant by tapping on an earbud and then asking it to fetch notifications, skipping a track, or hearing and responding to messages.
Finally, the Google Assistant is making its Android Auto debut in the US starting this week. Cars by Ford, Volvo, Nissan, Volkswagen, and General Motors will soon be able to support the AI, letting users send or receive WhatsApp messages, stream music from Play Music or Spotify, and get directions from Maps or Waze.