Google Assistant Updates With Family Focused Features

You'll soon see Google Assistant on more devices and in more places

At CES in Las Vegas today, Google announced some new features the company intends to help its Google Assistant be more useful in more places and on more devices. Smart speakers will be easier and faster to set up with an Android phone, says Google, while plenty of new devices will work with the system, including smart locks, appliances, shower heads, and more.

Household Contacts on a Google smart display

Here are a few of the cooler new things you'll see with Google Assistant in the near future.

Set Up With Ease

Android phone users will now get a notification when a new smart device is available on your home network. Tapping through will let you set up the smart speaker or display without having to enter your credentials yet again. This should make set up much faster.

Scheduled Actions

Need your coffee pot to turn on when you wake up in the morning? Assistant has your back with what Google is calling Scheduled Actions. Coming later this year, the feature will work with more than 20 new devices, including AC units, vacuums, air purifiers, bathtubs (!), and more, including your wake up juice machine.

Family Friendly

Household Notes on a Google Smart Hub display

Google's also focused on making its smart displays and speakers more useful around the house, with a couple of features that won't require sign in. With Household Notes for Smart Displays (like the Google Hub), anyone can see—simply create a note and leave it on the screen.

You'll also be able to create quick dial contacts on your Smart Screen or Speaker. Anyone can use these—think parent office numbers or take-out calls that anyone in your household can access without signing in to Google.

Both features will be ready to go later this year.

Hey Google, Read This

Having your smart speaker read web pages or other long-form content is possible, but not always comfortable. Google is addressing the issue with new, more expressive and natural-sounding voices for Android phones. The team is looking to add auto-scroll and text-highlighting options, too, which can help people comprehend text being read to them by a computer.

Interpreter mode—real-time translation on phones and smart displays/speakers—is expanding to hotels, airports, sports stadiums, and humanitarian organizations thanks to a partnership with Volara and SONIFI.

Of Course, Privacy

Google also wants to remind everyone that it's all-in on privacy. Assistant will not record or send anything you say while its devices are in Standby Mode. You can also delete your activity (everything after you wake a device with "Hey Google") with a voice command ("Delete everything I said to you this week").

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