Google Assistant is heading to even more devices in 2018
Google has its sights set firmly on Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa this year.
With Google Home finally making its way Down Under last year, Aussies have had a good few months to get acquainted with Google's virtual personal assistant, the aptly-titled Google Assistant. But so far, Google's answer to Siri and Amazon Alexa has only been available on Google's own smart speakers and a limited range of smartphones. That's set to change in 2018, with Google today announcing that it'll be expanding device support for Google Assistant dramatically throughout the next 12 months.
Starting this week, Google Assistant will begin to roll out across a wide range of voice-activated speakers from brands like Altec Lansing, Anker Innovations, Bang & Olufsen, Braven, iHome, JBL, Jensen, LG, Klipsch, Knit Audio, Memorex, RIVA Audio and SōLIS. Just bear in mind that some of these brands aren't available locally here in Australia.
Google is also taking aim at Amazon's voice-activated tablet the Amazon Echo Show by incorporating Google Assistant into upcoming smart displays from JBL, Lenovo, LG and Sony. Like the Echo Show, this will allow you to ask Google Assistant to pull up YouTube videos for you, place video calls, present recipes and display other visual accompaniments that smart speakers can't. You'll have to wait a little while for this nifty feature, though, as the compatible smart displays aren't due out until later this year.
A smattering of Android-based TVs currently support Google Assistant, but Google plans on ramping up compatibility considerably through 2018. Along with existing Android TV models from companies like TCL and Xiaomi, Google Assistant will be making its way to Android TVs from Changhong, Haier and Hisense, with the specific models set to be unveiled later this week at CES. LG's latest TVs will also receive Google Assistant integration in the coming months.
Wrapping up the hardware announcements, Google also revealed that Jaybird, JBL, LG and Sony will be releasing new headphones throughout the year optimised specifically for Google Assistant. After pairing these wireless headphones with your phone, you'll be able to tap a button on them to talk directly to Google Assistant without needing to pull out your phone and swipe through menus.
The final piece of news from Google's Google Assistant roadmap is a small piece of rebranding. From here on out, Google will be referring to anything that Google Assistant can do as an Action, whether that be reading out the weather forecast or dimming your smart lights. While this change is mostly a semantic one, it does make it easier to categorise the things Google Assistant is capable of in a clear, communicable manner. To accompany the name change, Google has also rolled out a new searchable directory of all the currently-supported Actions, with more Actions being added at a regular clip.