Google’s artificially intelligent Assistant first debuted in the company’s messaging app Allo, but it was a standout feature of the Pixel and Pixel XL, the search giant’s first phones, as well as the Google Home. So what’s the Assistant’s next home? Android TV.
Assistant is similar to Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, though its features can vary from device to device. On the Google Pixel, for example, users can ask it to toggle the flashlight, set reminders, and ask for directions. Similar actions can be completed on other Assistant-enabled products like Google Home, where you can use the AI bot to control your smart home products. But what gives Assistant a leg up over Alexa is the power of Google Search, and the ability to ask follow-up questions without having to repeat yourself.
With Assistant on Android TV, users will be able to say “OK Google” to trigger and ask it to play whatever you want to watch.
“As part of an upcoming update on supported TVs and set-top boxes powered by Android TV, you’ll be able to ask the Google Assistant for help so you can enjoy the content you love, faster than ever, on the best screen in your house,” according to Google’s blog post. “No more typing or struggling to get to what you’re looking for, just ask the Google Assistant for help and you’re off to the races.”
Google says you can also use Assistant to run voice searches to find shows. For example, you can say “Search YouTube for Jimmy Kimmel,” and you can follow up by saying, “play the second one” to select the right video — hands-free.
Assistant on Android TV seems to carry many of the same features available with the AI on other devices — you can run Google searches, control smart home products, ask for commute times, and more.
The integration will be available on Nvidia’s Shield TV, as well as “all Android TVs in the U.S. running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or Android 7.0 Nougat.” These include the Sony Bravia, Xiaomi Mi Box, Dish’s new AirTV player, Sharp Aquos, and more.
You’ll need a microphone to trigger Assistant — and many Android TV devices embed one in the remote. Google says the Nvidia Shield will be the first TV device to offer a true hands-free Assistant experience.
After Android TV, Assistant will come to smartwatches running Android Wear 2.0 — Google is said to be making two devices, and the revamped OS is set to launch alongside them early 2017. Assistant will also be powering in-car infotainment systems, and more.
Assistant will come to Android TV in the form of an “upcoming update,” but it’s unclear when exactly it will roll out.
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