Google Home has a new cloud-side update that brings a handy and much needed feature to the smart speaker. It is now location aware and will only adjust the Smart Home items in the room it is located in, not just across the entire home. Google hasn’t announced this year but the team over at Android Police posted on it yesterday and I can confirm it works for me too.
The problem this solves is straight forward. Prior to this update, if I issued the command, “Hey Google, turn off the lights”, it would turn off all the smart lights in my house, regardless of their location. With this update, if I issue the same command, it will only adjust the lights in the room in which my Google Home picked me up. This is were tagging like “Living Room”, “Office” and other areas become key.
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Google continues to roll out new features to Google Home and Google Assistant to make them more personalized to your needs. The latest of these updates is rolling out now and it gives you the ability to schedule your custom routines you have setup on your Google Home.
Routines, for those that are new to Home, came to the devices back in March while custom routines – ones you create yourself – came in May. At Google I/O, the Mountain View company said that scheduling of your custom routines would be coming too. This would allow for you to schedule the day and time you want a routine to be available to run.
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YouTube Music, the newest music streaming service from Google, has for a long time been an option for US users to have as their default music option. This was true of the old version of the service as well as the new one. Now those of you in the UK have the same option to make YouTube Music your default music choice.
The update to enable the feature is a cloud-side update and will appear as an option in your music settings within Google Assistant. Once enabled, you can say, “Hey Google, play Rush from YouTube Music” and it will play music from Canadian band on your Google Home device.
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Google Home, and by extension Google Assistant, has quietly added iCal support for subscribed calendars in your Google Calendar. To this point, Google Home could only read your primary calendar as well as holiday and birthday calendars. But subscribed calendars couldn’t be read. That now has changed.
If you have subscribed to an iCal calendar, you now have the option to add it to your list of calendars that can be read by Google Home and you can be updated when you ask about an event.
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Rarely do tech companies apologize for mistakes or issues. The only exception is usually a data breach and even then, it is usually well after the fact. So when Google’s Vice President of Google Home products, Rishi Chandra, sends out an email apologizing for an outage, you tend to take note.
As you may recall, and may have been impacted yourself, there was a wide spread outage of Google Home earlier this week. The email went out to all Google Home customers yesterday, apologizing for the outage and giving a bit of detail on what happened – well, as much as Google is willing to talk about it.
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Over the course of yesterday, many Google Home and Chromecast users reported issues with the devices. In the case of Home, commands were not being accepted while with Chromecast devices, casting would not work. The issue was reasonably widespread.
Late yesterday, Google’s Made By Google Twitter account posted that a fix would be rolling out over the follow six hour (i.e. overnight) to fix the issue.
At this point, this fix should have rolled out to everyone.
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Over the course of the past few weeks, there has been a lot of activity around Google Assistant, Google Home, and the Spanish language. First there was the support for three dialects of Spanish, then Google Home becoming available in Spain. Today we see all of this come together with Google announcing that Google Home now can speak Spanish.
With this update, which has already rolled out via a cloud side update, you can now configure Google Home to speak Spanish as you interact with it in your day-to-day activities or ask it to complete specific commands. Considering that nearly 6% of the world’s population speaks Spanish, which is more than English speakers, it is a huge step forward for Google Home and Google Assistant.
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After trickling out over the course of the past few days, it looks like Google has pushed the big red button and the broad release of Continued Conversation for Google Assistant on Google Home is happening. The feature, which was highlighted at Google I/O, is aimed to create a more natural conversation between you and Assistant without having to issue a “Hey Google” for every command.
Now you can say “Hey Google” once, issue a command (or a series of up to three commands) and Assistant through your Google Home will execute them. Then it listens for another few seconds for a follow up command. If you don’t issue a follow up command, or if you say “Stop” then it no longer listens and goes back into waiting for you to say “Hey Google”.
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