Skip to main content

The Google Assistant can't cook you dinner, but it can walk you through it

smart speaker home security google thumb
The Google Assistant, the smart digital helper, can already juggle a bunch of hands-free tasks for you. It will supply movie showtimes, place a restaurant reservation, summon a car, and even place orders from nearby stores on command. And it hasn’t stopped improving. This week, it is gaining integrations that will boost its cooking, booking, nature, and car knowledge.

On Wednesday, Google announced recipe skills for the Google Assistant and Google Home, the artificial intelligence-powered smart home speaker. Before, both could answer basic questions about substitutions, measurements, and conversions before, but now, they go about it a little more conversationally. You can ask about recipes by yelling commands like, “OK Google, let’s make a croissant,” and if you’re on a smartphone or tablet, you save a recipe for later by tapping, “Send to Google Home.” When you shout “OK Google, start cooking” at your Google Home, it will start walking you through the steps.

If you accidentally miss something, it’s no big deal. You can ask the Google Assistant or Google Home to repeat it by saying, “OK Google, repeat.” If it is a step earlier in the recipe, you can say something like, “OK Google, what is step two?”

Google’s said it is sourcing more than 5 million recipes from Bon Appetit, The New York Times, and more, and that the new recipe skill will roll out to the Google Assistant and Google Home in the coming weeks.

Cooking | Google Home now provides step-by-step recipe instructions

Recipes are not the only new thing.

Earlier this week, Google Home and the Google Assistant gained 25 new actions — or third-party voice apps — including one that lets you listen to hundreds of bird songs, a voice-activated virtual concierge, and vehicle controls.

Mercedes and Hyundai recently launched actions that tap into their respective car platforms. The Mercedes Me action can unlock the car door, take navigation directions, and start the car engine.

For naturalists and nature lovers, there is the Bird Song Skill by Thomptronics and Earth Day. Bird Song Skills can play more than 200 bird sounds and test your knowledge with the song quiz. And the Earth Day action can supply resources on issues like deforestation, climate change, and biodiversity.

The Atlanta rail action provides local bus and train arrival times. The Virtual Concierge, a product of The Lodge in Palmer Lake, Washington, tells vacation rental and Airbnb guests about house rules and answers questions about things like Wi-Fi passwords, nearby restaurants, and activities. And the Farmer’s Almanac tells you things like the number of days until summer and the best time to destroy pests and weeds.

Google said that more than 175 actions have been added to Google Home since the launch of Actions on the Google Assistant platform last December. And new skills and actions follow the debut of multi-account support. Last week, the Google Assistant on Home devices gained support multiple accounts and the ability to differentiate between up to six voices.

Editors' Recommendations

You may want to think twice about buying a Samsung or Pixel phone
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra next to the Google Pixel 7 Pro.

A new report from Project Zero, Google's internal security research team, says that a laundry list of devices using Exynos modems are at a high risk of major security breaches that would give remote users the ability to very easily "compromise a phone at the baseband level." Notably, the recently released Pixel 7 is among those that are open to attack, alongside the Pixel 6 and Samsung Galaxy S22, to name just a few.

Obviously, this is a major issue, but not all hope is lost, as the problem is certainly fixable. The big question is when a fix for all affected devices is coming. Here's everything you need to know about the vulnerability and what you can do to keep your smartphone safe.
Why Samsung and Pixel phones are in danger

Read more
The Google Pixel Fold may not be as expensive as you thought
Alleged renders of the Google Pixel Fold in black.

Google’s long-in-development foldable phone — the Pixel Fold — is reportedly eyeing a late June launch. A recent leak predicted that the Pixel Fold will hit the European shelves priced at 1,700 Euros, which equates to roughly $1,800 based on current conversion rates. That’s not easy to digest, especially for a first-gen foldable phone and considering Google’s own shaky history with its Pixel hardware and software.
But it appears that the Pixel Fold’s price won’t be inexplicably exorbitant at all. Leaker Yogesh Bear shared on Twitter that the foldable phone could actually cost anywhere between $1,300 and $1,500. Assuming that turns out to be true, the Pixel Fold could undercut the Samsung Galaxy Fold 4 and its successor by a healthy $500.

In fact, such an asking price would put the Pixel Fold in roughly the same ballpark as the higher storage configurations of phones like the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro Max. Of course, Google won’t be able to match the asking price of foldables from Chinese brands, but it would at least look competitive in the Western markets.
Now, a price of around $1,300-1,500 makes a lot of sense. First, the biggest deterrent for foldable phones is their high asking price. There’s a reason Samsung managed to sell bucketloads of its flip-style foldable phones because they cost nearly half vis-a-vis the phone-tablet hybrids in the Galaxy Z Fold series.

Read more
Google Pixel 8: all the latest rumors and what we want to see
Google Pixel 8 leaked render.

The Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are on their way. Google's fallen in a pretty reliable release pattern for Pixel phones, meaning we can safely expect a new lineup of flagship Pixels each year. In 2023, that means the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro.

The Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are two excellent devices -- possibly two of the best smartphones Google has ever made. But while they have some serious strengths, a number of problems and missed opportunities drag both phones down. This wouldn't be a problem if the competition was standing still, but it's not. The Apple iPhone 14 Pro refreshed the iPhone design for the first time in years, and the recently released Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is quite possibly one of the best smartphones ever created. So what's a humble Pixel to do?

Read more