CES 2018 is officially under way and Google has set up camp. On Tuesday, the search giant had a few announcements to make which included its plans to expand Assistant this year and a new product called Google Pay. Google’s voice-based digital assistant will be seen in more devices this year including smart speakers, smart displays and Android Auto, among other things.
Google has spent the last year bringing Assistant to over 400 million devices as it aims to make its virtual assistant available pretty much everywhere. To that end, the search giant is further expanding the portfolio as it looks to bring Assistant to smart displays from JBL, Lenovo, LG and Sony later this year to take on Amazon’s Echo Show. Smart displays are essentially speakers with tablet-like displays that can play music, control your smart home and provide visuals as well. Google Assistant-powered smart displays will performs most of the functions that smart speakers do, while the display will allow you to watch videos from YouTube, make video calls with Duo and find photos from Google Photos, the company said.
Notably, the first smart display powered by Google Assistant will come from Lenovo, which at the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show announced the Lenovo Smart Display. The new product is a slab-shaped device with speaker grilles on the left side and an 8-inch or 10-inch display on the right. The smart display comes with Assistant inside and an always-listening feature to hear for commands. The smart display will play music, display calendar, weather and Google Maps, among other things. It is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 624 SoC and comes with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support. The 8-inch model is priced at $199 while the 10-inch will retail at $249 when it goes on sale in early summer.
Google in its announcement said that Assistant will also be coming to more voice-enabled speakers from brands like Altec Lansing, Anker Innovations, Bang & Olufsen, Braven, iHome, JBL, Jensen, LG, Klipsch, Knit Audio, Memorex, RIVA Audio and SoLIS. The company will also roll out Assistant to more Android TVs including AirTV Player, Bouygues Telecom, LG U+, TCL, Skyworth and Xiaomi. Additionally, Assistant will also be available on more headphones this year from Jaybird, JBL, LG and Sony.
If that wasn’t enough, Google Assistant will also live inside your car. The company announced that Assistant will be coming to Android Auto in the US starting this week. Now, users have been able to issue voice commands to Android Auto in the past, but that was simply to invoke Google Voice search, which was limited in terms of functionality. Assistant for Android Auto will perform actions like controlling your smart home, play music from Spotify or Google Play Music, get directions from Google Maps or Waze and send and receive messages from services like WhatsApp, among other things. With the number of actions one can perform, Google also announced Actions, which includes over a million features built by Google and by developers that can be discovered via a new directory page on your Android or iPhone.