Google Assistant to be The Center of a Google Store Revamp

Google Assistant Logo

For the second time in less than six months, it looks like Google is going to be revamping the online Google Store.  A report from Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources within Google, suggests that the revamp will have Google Assistant front-and-center in the redesign where Google will sell their devices and those of sister Alphabet companies like Nest.

The move is in response to Amazon and their own digital assistant, Amazon Alexa.  Amazon had a two year start on Google when it came to personal AI-driven assistants, with Amazon still holding an estimated 68% market share with their Amazon Echo devices compared to the 25% for Google with Google Home.  The disparity has the Mountain View company worried and they are going all out to meet Amazon head on in the space.

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Dish Network to Bring Google Assistant to Customers in Early 2018

Dish Network and Google Assistant

Continuing the theme of this year’s CES, which is “Google Assistant all the things”, Dish Network has announced that Google’s AI assistant will be coming to customers in the first half of 2018.

“Throughout 2017, DISH took major strides toward building a suite of voice control options for our customers, including a new DISH voice remote,” said Niraj Desai, DISH vice president of product management. “We’re pleased to be working with the Google Assistant to offer our customers the ability to control Hopper’s video experiences through the Assistant on speakers and phones.”

Assistant will be coming to three specific Dish devices:  Hopper DVR (all generations), Joey client (all models), and the Wally single-tuner HD receiver.  Users will be able to use Assistant when it is paired with a Google Home or their phone.

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KIA Bringing Google Assistant to its EVO Infotainment System

Kia Motors America Introduces Google Assistant Into the Award-Winning UVO Infotainment System

KIA Motors has announced that Google Assistant will be coming to their EVO Infotainment system on select 2018 model cars.  The integration means that owners will be able to leverage Google Assistant to issue Actions to their car and get information on their car.

“Our customers inspired this latest enhancement to the Kia ownership experience,” said Henry Bzeih, director, connected car & mobility services, strategy & planning, KMA. “With more people using smart technology at home and work, it was a natural extension to bring this easy to use and widely adapted platform to the driver’s seat. With a simple voice command, Kia owners can interface with their vehicles in the same manner they use the Google Assistant in their homes.”

The new integration will be available the K9002, Soul EV1, Niro PHEV, and the Optima PHEV this year.

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Google Assistant Directory of Actions Now Online

Google Assistant Actions Directory

As Google Assistant has grown in capabilities, both natively as well as integration from developer and manufactures, sorting out what Assistant can do has become increasingly challenging.  I have several friends who have Google Home and when they ask me if Assistant can do this or that, my default answer to this point has been, “I don’t know.  Just ask it and let’s see if it can do it.”  Now that is going to change.

Google has turned on a new Google Assistant actions page which, in one location, shows you all of the actions that Assistant can perform.  You will see the over 1 million actions that can be done natively or through 3rd party integrations.

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Google Assistant Actions Are Now Called… Actions

Google Assistant Logo

File this one under the “yeah, that makes sense” category.  Google has made a slew of announcements regarding Google Assistant today at CES 2018.  A lot of new products are coming out with Assistant support and with the AI-driven Assistant on over 400 million devices already, it is getting close being everywhere.

Now Google has decided to call your requests of Google Assistant what they really are:  Actions.  Amazon Alexa and Microsoft Cortana have skills.  Assistant has Actions.  Google is referring to anything Assistant can do natively or through a third party integration as an Action going forward.

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iHome Announces Google Assistant Enabled Smart Speaker

iHome iGV1 Smart Speaker

Long time accessories manufacture iHome has announced a new smart speaker powered by Google Assistant at CES 2018.  The new iGV1 looks similar in design to Google Home, albeit a bit shorter, with controls on the top of the device as well as a LED clock display on the side.

The iGV1 is equipped with WiFi connectivity as well as Bluetooth.  It also has a USB-A port for charging devices.  Unfortunately very little else was released about this new Google Assistant powered smart speaker.  It is unclear when it will be available or the pricing.

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Google Assistant Support Coming to Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt Lineup

Schlage Sense Smart

Home deadbolt and locking manufacture Schlage has announced that Google Assistant support will be coming to their range of Sense Smart deadbolts in the coming months.  It will allow owners of the locks to use Assistant via their phone or Google Home devices to lock or unlock the deadbolt on their homes.

The integration with the Schlage locks and Google Assistant will also allow users to check if they locked the deadbolt.  Using voice commands, they can ask Assistant if the deadbolt is locked and, if it is not, will be prompted on if they want to lock it.  This can be done both inside the house as well as outside.  The idea being, if you were in a rush to get to the office in the morning and can’t remember if you locked the front door, you will be able to ask Assistant if you did and lock it remotely.

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