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Guest Mode now available on Google Assistant


Google has introduced Guest Mode to Google Assistant to give users the chance to ensure their interactions with their Google smart speakers or displays, including Nest Audio and Nest Hub Max, are not saved to their account when this new mode is switched on. When Guest Mode is switched on, users will be able to continue to ask questions, control smart home devices, set timers, and play music, but will not be able to access personal results, such as calendar entries or contacts, until Guest Mode is switched off. Google added the device will also automatically delete audio recordings and Google Assistant activity from the device owner's account when in Guest Mode. However, if users are interacting with other apps and services, such as Google Maps, YouTube, or other media and smart home services while in Guest Mode, those apps may still save that activity, Google said. To switch on Guest Mode, it is a matter of users saying, "Hey Google, turn on Guest Mode", before the device plays a special chime and a guest icon is displayed.



Google is launching a few new privacy features today that include a refreshed Safety Center that's now live in the U.S. and coming soon globally, as well as more prominent alerts when the company expects that your account has been tampered with. The most interesting new feature, however, is a new Guest mode for the Google Assistant on Google-branded devices. Not to be confused with giving guests access to your Google Chromecast, for example, this new Guest mode is more akin to the incognito mode in your browser. With Guest mode on, which you invoke by saying "Hey Google, turn on guest mode," the Assistant won't offer personalized responses and your interactions won't be saved to your account. It'll stay on until you turn it off.

Alexa can soon control your Wi-Fi and brief you on your kid's homework


Amazon rolled out more than a dozen new devices today in its annual hardware event atop a biodome at company headquarters in Seattle, including eyeglasses and a ring that speak with Alexa, several new speakers, and lots of new devices for the home. Sprinkled in between hardware announcements were a bunch of new ways Alexa is getting smarter. In all, like last year, nearly a dozen new features were introduced today. Here are some of the standouts. One unique offering introduced today is the Education Skills API, a way for skills developers and school districts to connect with popular edtech services like Canvas, Kickboard, and Coursera.

Google is bringing the Nest Hub to hotel rooms


Google on Wednesday announced that it's partnering with the hospitality industry to bring Nest Hub smart displays to hotel rooms. The voice-activated smart display offers an easy way for guests to get information and to communicate with their hotel. Critically during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it also provides a hands-free way of controlling one's hotel room environment. Google, with the help of system integrators like Volara and SONIFI, is helping hotels create customized, branded display panels from which guests can get information and access different features. Hotels can tailor the Nest Hub experience to immediately respond to common questions or requests guests may have, such as, "Hey Google, ask my hotel for extra towels," or "Hey Google, what time does the pool close?"

Google's new Assistant feature is an incognito mode for smart speakers


Last January Google quietly did away with the existing Guest Mode feature, which allows people not on your Wi-Fi network to connect with a Chromecast or smart speaker by entering a four-digit PIN, from its Home and Nest devices on account that some people and pets could hear the ultrasonic frequencies the two devices use to pair. Today, in the culmination of online privacy efforts the company first announced back in October, users will be able to turn off the voice recording features of their smart display and speaker like the Nest Audio or Nest Hub Max simply by telling it to. This new Guest Mode is basically like Chrome’s Incognito tabs.