When Google launched the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL on October 9, it announced a number of new features coming to Assistant — but only on Pixel phones. Now, however, it’s revealing a few new features coming to Google Assistant as a whole, meaning all Assistant-enabled phones will get them.
Perhaps the most interesting new feature is the ability to see a “snapshot” of your day, similar to how Google Now operated back in the day. Now, when you activate Google Assistant, you can swipe up on the display to see things like event recommendations, show recent notes and lists, reminders, and so on.
Next up is the ability to use Google Assistant straight from your lock screen. Because of the fact that Google learns its user’s voice, your voice can be used as a way to authenticate your identity. That means that you can use Google Assistant even while your phone is locked, as long as you opt in to the feature in your Google Assistant settings. Then, you will be able to ask Google Assistant to do anything it could do when the phone was unlocked, including asking it to show you unread emails or what’s next on your calendar.
In general, Google Assistant is getting much better, and quickly. That’s not good news for the likes of Amazon’s Alexa, which has generally been hailed as one of the better digital assistants out there, but it’s even worse news for Apple’s Siri, which has seriously been lagging behind the competition over the past few years.
Google has also started supercharging Assistant with its new Google Duplex technology, which sounds ultra-realistic and will be able to do things like taking phone calls, booking tables in restaurants, and more. To start, Duplex will only be available on Google Pixel devices, though it’s likely the technology will roll out to other Assistant-enabled phones eventually. Recently, Google also announced a new version of the Google Home app, which gives users more visual control over their smart home devices, plus it’s integrating its Nest smart home products a little more with devices like the new Google Home Hub smart display.
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