In a document published to its website this week, Google announced a number of new capabilities that’ve been added via software update to its Google Home, Google Home Max, and other Google Assistant-powered smart speaker devices.
Adding to the current slate of “everyday things” it can already help you do — like place calls, plan schedules, or carry out a wide range of tasks via the sound of your voice — Google says its Assistant-powered devices are now capable of “even more.”
Google’s new alarm feature allows users to set an alarm to the tune of their favorite song, playlist, or radio station, making it easier than ever to “wake up more peacefully,” Google says.
“All you have to do is say ‘Hey Google, set an alarm for [time] that plays [insert favorite song, artist, album]” to the Assistant on Google Home (or your other Assistant-enabled speakers) and you can set an alarm and wake up to your favorite song, playlist or radio station,” the company said.
Find Your Content Easier
Additionally, while Google Assistant-powered devices are already capable of playing your favorite TV shows or helping you learn more about actors by simply asking it, they can now help you keep up with your shows by using a number of new voice commands:
- For example, to find where your favorite shows are playing, say “Hey Google, what channel airs [speak show’s name]” or “Hey Google, when does [show’s name] air next.”
- You can also set a reminder to tune in and watch once the channel and timing of your show is determined, saying, “Hey Google, remind me to tune into [that show] on [channel] at [specified time].”
- Google also said it’s worked closely with Netflix to help enhance its viewers’ casting experience. Simply link your Netflix account via the Google Home app or the Google Assistant on your phone, choose your profile and you’re ready to go. “Thanks to Voice Match on the Assistant, you can just say, ‘Hey Google, play [such and such] on Netflix‘ and it will pick up right where you left off.”
- Last but not least, Google Play Music subscribers are now able to enjoy all of their purchased and previously uploaded music titles by simply telling Google Assistant their favorite artist, song or album.
While they’re not exactly Earth-shattering, these updates are part of Google’s ongoing efforts to enhance Google Assistant relative to its primary competition — Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo assistant, which, as part of its latest update, acquired the ability to send text messages to Android phones.
Amazon’s growing line of Echo devices have, for their part, enjoyed massive success; however the most recent data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) suggests Google Home may be gaining ground on the Echo — with the former accounting for nearly 40 percent of overall smart speaker sales during the busy holiday shopping season.
While CIRP went on to estimate there are around 45 million smart speaker devices active in U.S. homes today, it remains to be seen how Apple’s [available to pre-order] HomePod will change those stats in the years ahead.
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