For a company famous for its analog trash cans, soap dispensers and toilet plungers, Simplehuman is embracing a digital future. The company has returned to this particular consumer electronics show to show off a new pedestal mirror that includes Google's voice assistant. As well as Assistant integration, the mirror will pull double duty as a Bluetooth and AirPlay 2 speaker for your home. Simplehuman boasts that the device packs a "custom, Danish-designed 2.5-inch acoustic driver" to deliver room-filling sound. Walk toward the mirror, too, and the built-in tru-lux bulbs will automatically replicate daylight in the morning, but offer dusky hues in the evening.
You can now choose from six new voices for your Google Assistant. With AI and WaveNet technology, we can better mimic the subtleties of the human voice--the pitch, pace and, um, the pauses. And the Google Assistant will be able to understand when you're talking to it versus someone else, and respond accordingly. For example, you can create a Custom Routine for family dinner, and kick it off by saying "Hey Google, dinner's ready" and the Assistant can turn on your favorite music, turn off the TV, and broadcast "dinner time!" to everyone in the house. Smart Display devices will be available this summer, bringing the simplicity of voice and the Google Assistant together with a rich visual experience.
Last week, we reported that Bose's QuietComfort 35 II Bluetooth headphones might include Google Assistant. Bose has revealed that this pair of QC headphones is the first to have a Google Assistant integration. In order to use Google Assistant, just press the "Action" button on the QC35 headphones. You can then talk to it, the same way you would on your phone. You can hear incoming messages, calendar appointments and more.
Google Assistant is a conversational successor to Google Now. And of course, it's also being positioned to take on Amazon's Alexa and its Echo speaker. Assistant in many ways looks like the future of Google, but at this point it's also pretty confusing. Engadget's Chris Velazco tries to figure sort out what it means in the video above.
Kids don't quite have the diction that adults to, which can make it hard even for us humans to understand them. Google knows this and has tweaked Assistant and Home to better pick up what your munchkins are laying down. The search juggernaut has also partnered with a number of providers for kid-specific things like stories from Disney and Sports Illustrated for Kids among others, and simple games (like musical chairs, for instance). The just announced Family Link will let you setup Google accounts for your under-13 youngsters, too. The updates will be rolling out later this month.