Google Assistant’s global drive helped it quadruple its active users in 2018

Talking to yourself is no longer a sign of madness if you have a smart assistant listening — and it seems that an awful lot of people are chatting to the Google Assistant. According to a year-in-review released by Google for CES 2019, its virtual voice assistant gained four times more active users in 2018, and Google expects it to be available on a billion devices by the end of January.

A big part of Google Assistant’s wide availability is Google’s drive to make it available in as many languages and countries as possible. 2018 saw the Assistant come to 14 new countries and learn 8 new languages — bringing the grand total up to 80 countries and a staggering 30 languages. Most excitingly though, the Assistant became truly bilingual in 2018 — so you can speak two different languages to your Google Assistant and it’ll be able to respond in kind without breaking stride.

Google has never been shy of adding new features either, and this year saw a huge number of tweaks and additions to the voice assistant. Google added even more regional accents and voices, more smart home support, and many other new features.

google duplex hands on io2018 2835

But in a year of big new features, the biggest was Duplex. Duplex changes your voice assistant to a true personal assistant, allowing your A.I. friend to call up businesses and book reservations or appointments. Pixel users in certain U.S. states were the first to be able to try this out, and you can expect to see a lot more of this tech in 2019.

But it wasn’t all about the software — Google also launched its first smart display in 2018, the Google Home Hub. The addition of a display makes it possible for Google Assistant to display visual information, YouTube videos, and even food recipes. It seems we’ve welcomed the Home Hub into our homes with open arms, too — one in every seven Google Home devices activated over the holiday period was a Home Hub, according to Google. They’ve been put to good use, too, with Home Hubs having been used to help cook 16 million recipes over that same period — with a million of those on Christmas Day itself.

All in all, it’s been a bumper year for the Google Assistant, and it’s a trend that’s likely to continue into 2019. With Amazon and Apple not letting up in the voice assistant war, you can bet we’ll see more hardware and software from all camps, and more smart integration entering homes.

Smart Home

Amazon Echo Show and Google Home Hub get huge price cuts

If you act today you can get an amazing deal on the first-gen Amazon Echo Show on Woot or the current generation Google Home Hub on Rakuten. The Echo Show works with Alexa and the Google Home Hub with Google Assistant.
Smart Home

Google has tips for making your smart home more eco-friendly

Google is announcing new integrations for Google Assistant with energy and water-saving devices for Earth Day. The company is also offering tips on how to cut down on your energy bill.
Smart Home

From the kitchen to the bedroom, here are the best Alexa tips and tricks

Amazon's voice assistant Alexa has plenty of neat skills. So many, in fact, it seems like new ones appear every day. We've rounded up the top Echo tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your virtual assistant.

The Pixel 3 range will soon be coming to T-Mobile's network

Google's latest flagships, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, are now official and we have all the details from the October 9 event in New York City and Paris. Here's everything we know about the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
Home Theater

Bose QuietComfort 35 II wireless headphones get a $93 price cut

Good head-fi is expensive, but a premium set of headphones is worth it. The excellent Bose Quietcomfort 35 Series II is on sale right now from Rakuten with a two-day coupon code that can save you more than 90 bucks.

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for April 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for April 2018.

Weird Galaxy View 2 is a TV-style tablet to take your mind off the Galaxy Fold

Samsung may be about to resurrect a product line that last saw an entry three years ago. Renders of the Galaxy View 2 show it's sticking to the tablet-that-thinks-it's-a-TV formula.

The latest Apple iPad Pros get steep discounts on Amazon

The iPad Pro is now in its third generation, and the 2018 refresh of this premium tablet is, hands down, Apple’s best one yet. It’s on sale right now, too, for a good discount which can let you score one for as little as $675.

These parental control apps will help keep your kids' device habits in check

Looking for extra security and monitoring on mobile devices? Take a look at the best parental control apps for limiting time and keeping watch on your child's phone usage and behavior. We have the top options for Android and iOS here.

The OnePlus 7 Pro will have four launch events to celebrate its release

The OnePlus 6T may still be new, but we're already looking ahead to the upcoming OnePlus 7. It will use the Snapdragon 855, and may have a new pop-up front camera, too. Here's everything we know about the OnePlus 7.
Smart Home

The Houzz app now lets you virtually tile your floor with augmented reality

Augmented reality is starting to be a real bonus to apps like Houzz's View in My Room 3D tool, which recently added the ability to measure how a tiled floor might look in your living space.

The best Bluetooth headsets of 2019, from Sennheiser to Jabra

Quality headsets are rare. Here are our picks for the best Bluetooth headsets available, whether you need something modest, cheap, or loaded with features. We highlight the best Bluetooth headsets you can get for different situations.

Samsung begins retrieving all the Galaxy Fold review units

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has arrived, and it goes on sale soon. Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.

Common Samsung Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, and S10e problems and how to fix them

Samsung's new Galaxy S10 range is gorgeous and extremely powerful. But they're not perfect, and you may discover some issues with your new phone. Here are some of the most common Galaxy S10 problems and how to fix them.