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.
I've always been quite happy with the Google Home and Google Home mini speakers I have around my house. But Google Assistant's latest trick has me re-thinking that for the first time. Today, the company introduced a new feature called "Interpreter Mode," which allows its assistant to act as a real-time translator during a conversation between two people. It's exactly as cool as it sounds. The concept is similar to Google's Pixel Buds, the $159 ear buds Google launched in 2017 that can provide real-time translations in your ears.
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's I/O developer conference is happening next week, and it'll be just about two years since the Google Assistant was first introduced. As such, the company is taking some time to announce a few new features, all of which are meant to expand the Assistant's usefulness in a smart home. Part of making the Assistant able to take on Amazon's Echo / Alexa powerhouse is having broad support for the massive number of smart home devices out there, and Google undeniably has that now. The company says that the Google Assistant works with more than 5,000 devices, up from only 1,500 at the beginning of the year. It's a number that doesn't mean much on its own, but Google VP of Assistant and Search Nick Fox said "the Assistant now supports essentially all the major brands."
Xiaomi has had a hard time gaining traction with US customers. To help sidestep that, the Chinese company is prepping the runway for (hopeful) domestic success by adding Google Assistant tech to its smart home devices, 9to5Google spotted. Meaning that once the company's Mi line of bedside lamps, LED lightbulbs and Smart plug arrive on these shores you'll be able to control them with your voice. The lamp and bulb each are capable of 16 million color customizations, according to the company, and they'll be available "shortly." We have to wait and see.