Categories: MobilitySmartphones

CES 2018: Google Assistant Heads To Cars, Smart Screens And Earbuds

Google plans to bring its voice-activated personal assistant to as many devices as possible during 2018 – including vehicles and smart screens.

The search giant showed off a number of new Google Assistant partnerships at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in a bid to establish leadership in the market.

Google Assistant will arrive on Android Auto, which is currently supported by more than 400 models from more than 40 manufacturers. The addition of Google Assistant will allow drivers to complete more tasks on the road, such as changing directions, select music and even order food and drink.

Google Assistant

Future functionality could see drivers check fuel levels and lock doors remotely from other Google Assistant powered devices. At present a smartphone is required to use Android Auto, but Google is working with car makers on native integration. This would make it easier to use and also attract more iOS users.

Google’s main competitor in the smart assistant market is Amazon’s Alexa and the associated Echo range. Amazon has released a version of the Echo with a screen and now Google has enlisted the support of its hardware partners to do the same.

“There are also moments when a screen would make the Assistant even more helpful, like when you need to learn how to cut a pineapple, and the best way is to watch a video,” said Google. “Today, we’re announcing that the Assistant is coming to smart displays. These new devices have the Google Assistant built in, and with the added benefit of a touch screen, they can help you get even more done.

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“You can watch videos from YouTube, video call with Google Duo, find photos from Google Photos and more. You can also get recommendations for your favourite content, right on the home screen.”

JBL, Lenovo, LG and Sony have all committed to make smart screens, with the Lenovo Smart Display and JBL LinkView among those on display at CES. More third party smart speakers are expected during the year, while more Android TVs will also get Google Assistant.

Finally, Google is working on smart wireless earbuds. This will allow users to activate the Assistant with a tap and change music, listen to notifications or make calls.

At present, Google Assistant is available on more than 400 million devices.

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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