Published: Fri, January 11, 2019
Technology | By Lionel Gonzales

Google Assistant can now translate conversations, book hotel rooms and more

Google Assistant can now translate conversations, book hotel rooms and more

Google Maps Assistant integration would be one of the most important Google Assistant updates that the giant Internet company announced during CES 2019. Thus far, devices shipping with the Google Assistant have been feature-packed and capable of linking into a multi-room audio system using the Chromecast protocol - hopefully that makes the jump to the Sonos family of devices.

When we tested that product at the time, we found its translations were serviceable but included too many mistakes, lacked nuance, and came too slowly to keep up with the pace of normal human speech. Google Assistant will soon let you do checks-in to your flight, save and retrieve your boarding pass. Hotel bookings are also limited to just U.S. right now.

The updates are available starting today for users on both iOS and Android.

Everybody wants to ideal the real-time translation on their respective assistant. It supports 27 languages on launch and aims to make it easier for travelers to get around overseas. To get started, you can say "Hey Google, be my French interpreter", and when the other person speaks in French, the Assistant device will translate in real-time, either in spoken word or via written translation on a Smart Display.

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"We see this technology expanding to more places-it could help you check in at a foreign hotel or help you understand the bus schedule". Google had a huge booth in the parking lot of the Las Vegas Convention Center, which had a bit of everything - including a ride that was powered by the Google Assistant, taking people through the day and showing how the Google Assistant can help them throughout the day. Google relies in part on its partners to address these kinds of niche use cases.

Amazon, which also competes with the likes of Apple, Samsung and IBM in the virtual assistant market, was the first to popularise such services, and in order to catch up, Google has steadily increased its presence at CES in recent years.

Additionally, upcoming auto accessories will improve Google Assistant's voice command pickup ability.

We'll know more about Google's plans for feature phones in February. Beta testing for the new feature has already begun, allowing Google's Siri-competitor to be the main voice input on some Sonos speaker models. A manufacturer could create a continuous e-ink display projecting weather or calendar information, for example, while using Connect to drive content from a linked smart speaker.

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