Microsoft today revealed it’s collaborating with Google to bring the Xbox Action to the Assistant — meaning you’ll soon be able to control your console by saying “Hey Google.”
With this update, you can command Google to turn your Xbox on and off, boot up apps, resume paused games, or take screenshots — all the good stuff. It’s basically the same thing as the Xbox skill currently available for Alexa. That means Xbox Ones now work with a large portion of voice-controlled devices currently on the market.
As of the last major update, Cortana has been mostly scrubbed from the Xbox One. The given reason was that the company was “moving away from on-console experiences to cloud-based assistant experiences.” I assumed that meant the substitution of Cortana for an Xbox skill on an existing voice assistant, and it seems that’s exactly what Microsoft‘s opted for, with both Alexa and now the Google Assistant.
Assuming these features are integrated with the next-gen Xbox, the so-called Scarlett, from the outset, it’ll give the fledgling console an edge over the competition among smart home enthusiasts. The PS4 currently doesn’t really work with any of the popular voice assistants except through some clever IFTTT recipes. I don’t even want to imagine what it would take to make the Switch work with Google Assistant.
The feature’s been released to public beta for English-speaking users. According to Microsoft, it’s working with Google to expand language support. For those of you who want to join the beta, here are Microsoft‘s instructions:
- Join the Google Group with the Google Account you intend to use
- Sign into your Xbox
- In the Google Home app for iOS or Android:
- Tap “+ Add”
- Tap “Set up device”
- Tap “Have something already set up?”
- Search for and select “[beta] Xbox”
- Sign in with the Microsoft account you use on Xbox
- Follow the instructions to link your Xbox and give it a device name
For a full list of the supported voice commands, check out the Xbox Insider subreddit. According to Microsoft, it plans to roll the feature out later this fall.