Published: Sat, December 01, 2018
Technology | By Lionel Gonzales

Google Assistant gets a big update in time for Christmas

Google Assistant gets a big update in time for Christmas

Google has bestowed its personal assistant with new abilities, including a change that rewards users for saying "please" and "thank you", visual lyrics for singing along to songs, and more.

Google is pretty much widening the intelligence gap between its increasingly versatile virtual assistant and rivals from Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft every month or so, with the latest batch of updates and feature enhancements specifically aimed at helping you "survive the busy holiday season". The Assistant will respond with a message like, "Thanks for asking so nicely". Today, Google announced a slew of new features for Assistant-but they really shine on Home Hub. "Alright, five minutes. Starting now".

Update, November 30 at 3:36 p.m. ET: It looks like Google's weather service is up and running again!

Talk To Santa: If your little one fancies a chat with the Saint Nick, she only needs to say "Hey, Google, call Santa".

Users can now can now create itemized lists with Google Assisting using voice commands.

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With this, you can use Google Assistant on your phone to speak through your smart displays at home like an intercom.

If you're a Nest Hello user, you can already see on your smart display (like Google Home Hub) when someone rings your doorbell. (Nest Labs is a subsidiary of Google.) So now you can screen your visitors to let guests in and deliveries get handled, while avoiding solicitors and other uninvited rabble. You can also reply back from a smart speaker or Smart Display to your smartphone or other Google Home devices.

Additionally, you can now create a gift list with Assistant. It will only work on the Assistant for now, but Google said it will soon add support for list providers, including Keep, and Bring! Now, we're making it easier to share photos with people on your contact list when you land on a photo that you like by saying "Hey Google, share this photo with April".

The Show joins a small but growing group of touch-screen smart speaker competitors.

Finally, Assistant is getting some new read- and sing-along features.

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