Google Assistant will be on one billion devices by the end of the month January 2019, says Google.
That said, it would be a double of the user count of 500 million that was recorded in May 2018.
while announcing this milestone at the CES 2019 conference in Las Vegas, Google also announced a host of new features and updates coming to the Assistant.
Google says users can check-in to United Airlines flights using the Assistant; you can also book a hotel room with several hotel chains.
In addition, Google also introducing a preview of new “Google Assistant Connect,” that leverages the smart home platform and offer device manufacturers an easy and affordable way to implement Assistant into new smart devices, while also making device setup and discovery simple.
Google says, more information about Assistant Connect and how to gain access to the technology will be shared later in the year.
However, interested device manufacturers can fill out this form to learn about how to integrate Assistant Connect.
Google gave an example usage of Assistant Connect stating:
“A partner could create a simple and inexpensive e-ink display that continually projects the weather or calendar, while using Assistant Connect to deliver content from the linked smart speaker.Google
Assistant will handle all the higher-order computing—knowing what’s on the calendar, checking for updates, and so on.”
Also, a new foreign language translation for Google Home devices and Smart Displays, called “Interpreter Mode,” is announced.
The Assistant interpreter will support more than 25 languages. To invoke Interpreter Mode, simply say like “Hey Google, be my English interpreter.”
This will initiate real-time written translation on Smart Displays as well as spoken translation.
Interpreter Mode will become available on Google Home devices and Smart Displays in the coming weeks.
Here is an image of new Interpreter Mode:
Assistant on Google Maps
Google Assistant integration into Maps on Android and iOS was previously announced at the Google I/O 2018 is now rolling out today.
Using Assistant integration users will be able to do things like search for places along route, navigation, share ETAs, send texts messages, play podcasts or music.
Additional capabilities like adding a new stop and auto-punctuate message are also available.
Android specific support for third-party messaging services like SMS, WhatsApp, Messenger, Hangouts, Viber, Telegram, Android Messages and more is available.
To share an ETA, a user simply says for example, “Hey Google, take me home,” and the Assistant will automatically calculate the ETA from Google Maps.
Hotel Booking and Airline Check-in
Hotel booking and flight check-in capabilities are now available.
For hotel room booking Google is working with multiple partners including Choice Hotels, AccorHotels, InterContinental Hotels Group, Priceline, Expedia, Mirai, and Travelclick.
The Assistant will also let users keep track of their itinerary with notes and lists with the integration of Google Keep, Any.do, Bring! and Todoist.
An image below shows hotel room booking feature:
Airline check-in currently only available for domestic flights with United Airlines, but more partners are coming, says Google.
The feature will let the user save and retrieve boarding pass by saying, “Hey Google, check in to my flight.”
Google Assistant is also capable of proactively notifying when a flight is ready for check-in.
And, after checked-in, just see the boarding pass in Google Pay or speak, “Hey Google, show me my boarding pass.”
A screenshot below shows the new flight check-in with Assistant:
Other features and updates available today for Google Assistant include:
Assistant on Lockscreen
Android users can now opt-in to show information such as restaurants nearby, set up and dismiss alarms, schedule reminders and timers on the lock screen.
Additionally, Pixel users can also opt-in to see answers to personal queries, such as traffic updates to work or calendar updates.
This feature will be available on all Android devices starting in the next few weeks.
Google says it is working with Anker and JBL to bring affordable Assistant-enabled car accessories.
Anker Roav Bolt and JBL Link Drive plug into a car’s socket to connect the phone to car’s stereo via Bluetooth or AUX.
“These accessories simplify audio input/output and allow the Assistant to hear you clearly, even if there’s loud music or conversations happening.”
HumX by Verizon, a new Assistant car accessory previewed today at CES lets people pull their vehicle’s diagnostics with voice.
New Smart Clock and Smart Display
Smart Clock from Lenovo is a 4-inch touchscreen that shows alarm suggestions based on people’s daily routines, gently wake up with auto-adjusting screen brightness and animations, and control smart home devices.
While, the new KitchenAid Smart Display, a 10–inch device guides through cooking recipes from Yummly and simultaneously controls smart home devices.
The Assistant is now built-in to Sonos One and Sonos Beam enabling people to control music, podcasts and radio stations all over their home.
Google says it will also enable Assistant to work with even more popular media and entertainment devices like Samsung TVs, to be able to turn on a TV, change volume and channels, and switch between inputs — all by using voice.
DISH’s Hopper receivers will also have Google Assistant built in.