Google Assistant launched at Google I/O 2016 as the software for Google Home, the nemesis of Amazon Echo and its voice operated software Alexa. Since that day, countless new Google Assistant features and new compatible devices have been released.

Today, Google Assistant is rolling out new features for the holidays, some will be available immediately and others in a few weeks.

We met the product team in charge of Google Assistant and they showed us a few demos of the new tasks you will be able to perform using the intelligent digital assistant.

1/ The Broadcast feature gets response capability

According to Google, Broadcast, released a year ago, is one of the most popular features of the Assistant. It allows users to send a voice message in real-time from your phone to all your smart speakers and Google-Assistant enabled devices (Smart displays) in the home. And today, google added the ability to reply back from your smart speaker or smart display to the phone.
For example when you leave work you can broadcast home to ask your family members if they need anything from the grocery store on your way home. This can become very handy for the upcoming Thanksgiving dinner.

2/ Cooking becomes more intelligent

We liked to look for new recipes on  the
Lenovo Smart Display we recently reviewed, because it was easy to watch the simple step by step visual and audio instructions to cook tasty meals! Google made the cooking app of Google Assistant on Smart displays more interesting by adding recommendations. Based on the users past searches patterns and time of the day (lunch, dinner…), the Recommended Recipes card is available directly from the home screen (photo).  
In addition, the smart recommendations will be updated according to the time of the year and to the season. For example, you will see a turkey gravy recipe close to Thanksgiving.

Additionally, you are now able to save your recipe in your cookbook in the Google Assistant, this new feature will be roll out across all Smart Displays in the coming weeks.

3/ Google Assistant new features for kids

Google Assistant aims at helping us in our daily lives, and for the holidays a set of new features for kids will be available. Partnering with Nickelodeon and Lego, Google introduces new alarms featuring music, jokes and fun messages from characters in LEGO City, LEGO Life, and LEGO Friends and  from Nickelodeon’s Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. For example, you just have to say: , “Hey Google, set a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle alarm for 7:00 AM.” and choose from the voices of of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello and April O’Neil.

To enhance parent’s storytelling from children books, Google Assistant’s Read Along feature, introduced this month,  add sound effects and music as you read. A new book will be supported by this format: “Ara the Star Engineer.” a story about real-life women engineers that aims at sparking kids’ interest in STEM. To trigger the sound effects, say “Hey Google, Read Along with Ara.” to your Google Assistant enabled device.

In the coming weeks, 25 new audio stories for kids by Nickelodeon will be available from to the Google Assistant, when users do not have a book.

Google created family-friendly responses around topics such as dinosaurs or superheroes for example, which are accessible for kids under 13 signed into Google Assistant enabled devices via the Family link app.

4/ Home View for TVs and podcast speed adjustment

Introduced last month alongside the Google Home Hub smart display, Home View is the dashboard that allows users to control their media, entertainment and compatible smart home devices from one screen in the Google Assistant.  Google has added Home View to more devices including TVs from LG, Panasonic, and Roku.

It is now possible to adjust the playback speed of your favorite podcasts or audio book from the Google Assistant, just by saying “Hey Google, play at twice the speed” or “play faster.”

5/ Better sleeping and wake up

Introduced this past Spring, and enhanced during the Summer, the Routines feature is now available in the Clock application in Android Smartphones. Routines allows to execute multiple tasks with one single command, you can use the simple ready-made routines or make your own routine using any of Google Assistant’s Actions. If you setup up your Clock app accordingly, a custom routine of your choice will start after you dismiss the alarm. For example, the Google Assistant voice can start telling you about the weather, or the traffic, read the news, switch on the compatible smart light or your coffee maker (if plugged into a smart plug).

Additionally, you can now turn off your Android Smartphone using voice command with your Google Assistant speaker or Smart display.

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