Google's aptly named AI helper, Google Assistant, is poised to have a great year in 2019. Not only will the digital assistant be spreading to numerous devices old and new, but there are a host of new features coming, too, several of which were shown off at CES 2019 last week. This list of upcoming Google Assistant updates is long, and it can be overwhelming trying to parse out all the different announcements and keep track of when these new features will finally be available. To help, we've curated a rundown detailing the best and most important updates coming for Google Assistant in the next few months, including what devices these new features have been announced for, their expected release dates, and how to enable them (when available). By far, the most hyped new Assistant feature at CES was the Interpreter Mode.
Google Assistant will soon be able to act as an interpreter, working as a go-between for natural conversations between initially 27 languages. Think of it as your own personal translator in your pocket. It's a pretty neat addition to the increasingly useful Google Assistant and will be rolling out over the next few weeks but I got a chance to try it out at CES in Las Vegas this week. You jump into interpretation mode by asking Google, say, "Hey Google, be my French translator." When I did that, the Google HomeHub smart display at a cafe Google had set up woke up and waited for my first words.
Google is going all in on its AI assistant. In an elaborate exhibit at CES, complete with a Disneyland-style ride, the firm showed off a slew of impressive new functions for Google Assistant, including Interpreter Mode to translate dozens of languages in real-time, and integration with its Maps app. Google also showed off the new Lenovo Smart Clock, which can set alarms based on your daily habits or calendar appointments, and wake you with a gentle light. The Silicon Valley giant took the wraps off the latest updates to Assistant on Tuesday as it officially opened its 18,000-square-foot booth, which relies on an amusement park-style ride designed in the style of Disney's'A Small World' to illustrate how Google Assistant can make daily tasks simpler. Try out the 360-degree video of Google's Disneyland-style ride below This is only Google's second year exhibiting at CES.
Google is showing off a new feature in its Translate app that can create an almost real-time transcription of someone's speech. The feature, which was demonstrated at a Google event and pointed out by Mashable, listens through an external microphone and spits out the audio in a desired language on the screen. While the technology is currently still a prototype, Google says it plans to introduce it to Android devices through its standalone Google Translate app. And here's what it will look like in action pic.twitter.com/wuXauzX28f Unlike previous Translate tools, The Verge reports that its feature will not be functional offline, given the resources required in translating language at such a high speed.
Last month, we had our first glimpse of Google Assistant's interpreter mode for smart displays and speakers. Now, everyone with Google Home devices or smart displays (as well as some smart speakers) can try out the mode after Google started rolling it out to those devices, as noted by Android Police. You'll need to activate the mode (by saying something like "turn on interpreter mode or "Help me speak Spanish") in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese or Spanish. Once you've started it though, the interpreter will translate between 26 languages, with support for more on the way. When we tried the mode at CES, we found it to be slow and stilted, which could cause complications for more complex translations.