Google Assistant for speakers and smart displays gets a bunch of new updates

Google has also added support for devices like the Nest Hello video doorbell.

Heading into the Christmas holiday period, Google has just announced a number of additions to what Google Assistant can do on smart speakers and smart displays.

These additions include 'Pretty Please', which was announced at I/O 2018, assistant notes and lists integration, broadcast replies as well as visual lyrics for the Google Home Hub.

Pretty Please

Launched alongside the digital wellbeing feature at I/O 2018, pretty please is designed to encourage the use of polite behaviour while communicating with machines. It enables the voice assistant to reward the usage of words like "please" and "thank you" with "delightful responses" like "Thanks for asking so politely".

 Google Assistant for speakers and smart displays gets a bunch of new updates

The Google Assistant enabled Lenovo Smart Display. Image: Google

Notes and lists integration

Google has been working on revamping the list management feature for Google Assistant and has also begun rolling it out. The Google Assistant on your smart speaker or smart display will now be able pull out notes and lists from Google Keep, and Bring. Support for Todoist is also expected to arrive soon.

You can also ask the assistant to add items to a particular list and even create a new list and add items to it. Voice commands like "What’s on my to-do list?" and "Show me my last note" will work too.

Read along, Talk and lyrics sync for smart displays

One of the most notable additions to smart displays is lyrics support. This means you can now watch synchronised lyrics of the song you're playing on your Smart Display. The new addition works only with a Google Play Music subscription (which is a bummer), and you need to say something like, "Hey Google, play 'Jingle Bell Rock' on Google Play Music." Not all songs are supported right away but Google is working on that.

Google has also integrated support for security devices like the Nest Hello video doorbell with smart displays. What this means is that you can not only see who is at the door, but also talk to them via the two-way talkback feature.

Google Home. Image: Reuters

Google Home. Image: Reuters

That's not all, there also the ability to ask your Assistant to read along to enjoy sound effects and music on Google Home. This feature is supported for only a handful of Disney classics for now but the list will be expanded soon. You can check which books support the feature here.

Staying true to the Christmas spirit, Google Home’s popular “Call Santa” feature also comes bearing gifts. The feature is being updated with music for kids as well as a video component on smart displays.

Broadcast Replies

When you’re out grabbing groceries to prepare for your holiday feast, Google Assistant can help you easily connect with family at home by using broadcast to check if anything else needs to be picked up. Beginning next week, users can also reply from a smart speaker or Smart Display, which should be quite handy for keeping your folks updated.

Setting alarms has also been made easier on smart displays. Google Home Hub and other smart display users can now simply swipe up from the home screen and tap the new timer button to set a new alarm.

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