If you’ve tried Google’s Home device, you’ve probably encountered its smart voice-activated Assistant, delivering relevant information from the Web and playing music and video on demand. At CES in Las Vegas, the company announced that it’s bringing Assistant to your TV, as well as Android Wear smartwatches and in-car entertainment systems.
Google’s rival to Siri and Alexa will become available on Android TV-based televisions and set-top boxes running Android Marshmallow 6.0 or newer, to do things like playing content from Netflix, searching YouTube for specific videos, control your connected home devices such as lights and speakers, and ask questions like “What are mastodons?” and “How long will it take me to get to work?”
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That means you won’t need a Google Home to enjoy the benefits of having Google Assistant around – simply turn on your TV and you’ll be able to invoke it by saying, “OK Google”.
The feature will become available in the coming months in the US on devices like the Nvidia Shield, Xiaomi Mi Box, and Android TVs like Sony’s Bravia screens. While some of these will require a voice remote, the Nvidia Shield will work completely hands-free, so you can wake Assistant from anywhere in the room without picking up a device.
The company noted that over time, Assistant will also show up in smartwatches running Android Wear 2.0, as well as other types of devices that take advantage of the Embedded Google Assistant SDK.
With that, Google is set to take the voice assistant fight to Amazon, which has been working feverishly to make Alexa ubiquitous across a range of connected devices from various hardware makers – including TVs. However, Google is gunning for more than that: It recently unveiled Android Things, an OS for Internet of Things devices that will integrate with a range of its cloud-based services. As such, it might be able to offer customers more control over all their gadgets with a unified interface in the months and years to come – and keep rivals at bay.