Tag Archives: Google Home

Here’s how the Google Assistant became more helpful in 2018

In 2018, the Google Assistant learned to speak new languages (Nǐ hǎo!), expanded to new regions (like the Netherlands, Indonesia and Turkey), and became smarter with new features that can help you throughout your day. Along the way, more people started using the Assistant to get some help—active users of the Google Assistant grew four times over the past year. By the end of this month, we expect the Google Assistant to be available on one billion devices, up from 500 million last May.

Here are some of the ways the Assistant became more helpful in 2018:

  • Google Home for the holidays: It was another record year for our Google Home family of devices, with millions sold this holiday season. Smart displays were particularly popular—one out of every seven Google Home devices activated over the holiday period was a Google Home Hub. With a rich visual display for photos, videos and visual answers, people found new ways to use their Assistant on Google Home Hub—hundreds of millions of photos were shown and hundreds of millions of minutes of music and videos were enjoyed over this holiday season.
  • The Assistant went global: We taught the Assistant to speak new languages and understand local cultures—it’s now in nearly 30 languages and 80 countries, up from eight languages and 14 countries last year. And the Assistant became multilingual, so you can speak more than one language to it at home.
  • Smart home central: You can manage your smart home all in one place with the Google Assistant, which is now compatible with over 10,000 smart home devices from over 1,600 popular brands. The number of smart devices that have been connected to the Google Assistant increased more than 600% over the last year.
  • Book your table with Pixel: Pixel users in select states in the U.S. were the first to get access to an experimental new Google Assistant feature—powered by Duplex technology—which helps you complete tasks over the phone, like calling a restaurant to book a table.
  • Natural conversation: The Assistant became a smarter conversationalist, so it can understand and respond to you naturally. Last summer, we introduced Continued Conversation, which lets you have a natural back-and-forth conversation with the Assistant. The Assistant can also understand more complex requests, so you can ask about many things at once, like “What’s the weather like in New York and in Austin?” And Pretty Please helped people encourage polite manners with their family.
  • Broadcast to your family:When you’re on the go, it’s easier to stay connected to your loved ones with Broadcast replies. This holiday season, more than 24 million broadcast messages and replies were sent.
  • Cooking companion: With our line-up of new Smart Displays and Google Home Hub, the Google Assistant can give you a hand in the kitchen with recipes and step-by-step cooking instructions, and we made it an even better sous chef with smart recommendations based on the time of day and your preferences. People used Google Home devices to cook over 16 million recipes this holiday season, with over a million recipes used on Christmas day alone.
  • Family time: From family games to story time to music, we worked to make the Assistant a great way to connect and enjoy time with your family. You can ask the Assistant to read along some of your favorite titles with you, complete with sound effects and music that bring the story to life. And you can sing along to your favorite songs with your Smart Display. And for families with kids, parents probably could have guessed that “Baby Shark” was the most requested song on Google Home speakers this holiday season.
  • Getting organized: Notes and lists in the Google Assistant made holiday shopping a little less stressful, helping you add and keep track of lists with just your voice. We also helped you get many things done with just one command with Routines. You can even start a routine by hitting dismiss on your alarm right from the Clock app on Android.
  • Eight new voices: Thanks to advancements in AI, we can now create new voices for the Assistant in just a few weeks, while capturing subtleties like pitch, pace and all the pauses that convey meaning—so the voices are natural-sounding and unique. We brought eight new voices for the Google Assistant in the U.S. this year, including voices with British and Australian accents.
  • Smart suggestions on your phone: We gave the Assistant on your phone a fresh look and made it more helpful. You can see a quick snapshot of your day, with suggestions and visual reminders based on the time of day, location and recent interactions with the Assistant.
  • Book a ride and movie tickets: We made it easier to plan your night out, with features like booking a ride service from the Assistant and buying movie tickets from Fandango.
  • Take care of your IOUs:You can use the Google Assistant to pay your friends back with Google Pay, so you can spend more time having fun and less time dealing with the hassle of paying each other back.

From day one, we’ve built the Assistant with one goal in mind: to help you get things done. Tomorrow, we’ll unveil even more ways the Assistant can help you at home, in the car and on the go at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. If you’re at CES, be sure to swing by the Google Assistant Playground (Central Plaza-1) for a firsthand look!

Deck the halls with help from Google Home Hub

Ahh, the holidays. It's the time of year where you might want to sink into your couch for a movie marathon, but you also have to chase a few toddlers around and get ready to host your entire family for dinner. This season, we’re here to help with a few ways you can take the hassle out of the holidays with Google Home Hub.

Get festive

Quit digging under the Christmas tree to turn on the lights—ask Google Home Hub to do it for you by plugging your lights into a compatible smart plug. Then say, “Hey Google, turn on the Christmas tree,” to watch it light up. While you’re decking the halls, your favorite holiday tunes are only a few words away as well. Just say, “Hey Google, play Christmas hits” to get those sleigh bells ringing (you may need a subscription).

Get the family together

As you’re snapping selfies with the fam, our live albums feature with Google Photos will let you see your best and latest shots on Hub automatically. And while everyone is gathered around, you can relive memories of holidays past. Just say, “Hey Google, show my photos from last December.” Or, you can all curl up on the couch and have Hub tell you a holiday story.

Get ready for Santa

If you’re a parent like me, getting your kids excited about the arrival of Santa is so much fun. If they’re wondering when the presents will start showing up, Google Home Hub can help you track Santa’s arrival starting December 23. Just say, “Hey Google, where’s Santa?” If Christmas Eve is too far away, “Hey Google, call Santa” will connect you to the North Pole, so you can help Santa rehearse for his musical concert.

Get help in the kitchen

Whether you’re crafting a gingerbread house, mixing your favorite holiday cocktail or just trying not to ruin the turducken, use your voice to browse millions of recipes, get step-by-step cooking instructions, set cooking timers and more. With “My Cookbook” you can even save your favorite recipes on Hub for your next holiday party.  

Get things done

The holidays are hectic, so let Google Home Hub be your personal taskmaster. You can set reminders to make sure that you hide the package deliveries and Hub can even remember where you hid your gifts after you wrapped them. If you’re traveling this holiday season, get quick and easy driving and flight info on Hub, with directions sent right to your phone. And, if you’re panicking because one of your present deliveries is delayed, don’t worry—just say “Hey Google, where is the closest toy store?” (insert “jewelry store” as needed).  

Get ready to be the life of the party

My wife tells me that New Year’s Eve is the best time to try a new makeup technique. With Google Home Hub, you can ace any look, hands-free, with help from Sephora. Just say, “Hey Google, show me holiday party looks videos by Sephora.” You can also brush up on the latest dance moves before your New Year’s Eve party with Hub. Try: “Hey Google, show me how to do the floss” and you’ll be grooving in no time. And if you’re the one hosting the party this year, the Nest Hello video doorbell works with Google Home Hub to show you who’s at the front door automatically. Use the new two-way talk back feature to greet your guests to let them know the door is open and the champagne is flowing.

Now that you've gotten everything taken care of with Google Home Hub, get back to the couch and press play on more holiday movies.

On the 12th day of holiday shopping, Made by Google gave to me…

On the final days of holiday shopping, Made by Google gave to me … lots of awesome gift options.

Twelve ways (at least!) to make your home smarter and safer

Holiday lights are aglow when you turn them on with Google Home (and a compatible smart plug). And to turn on the rest of the lights using just your voice, get our Smart Home Starter Kit. A Nest Hello video doorbell will help you spot holiday visitors at your front door and our Nest Cam will reveal who’s eating Santa’s cookies.

Eleven personalized My Cases

With My Case, gift-giving gets personal. Create a case from your saved photos, a favorite map location, or pick one of our curated collections from various artists. It’s the perfect stocking stuffer for anyone on #teampixel. And while we love a good ugly sweater, all images for My Cases are subject to our copyright and content policy.

Ten levels of volume on Google Home Max

Blast the holiday music with Google Home Max. If you have your hands full making cookies or decorating the tree, you can use your voice to tell it to play your next tune (you may need a subscription to hear your favorite song).

Nine decades of Mickey Mouse

To celebrate 90 years of Mickey, we teamed up with Disney and Otterbox to make your Google Home Mini look like your favorite mouse with a custom base accessory. You can also make storytime more magical with Read Along, which adds sound effects and music to stories like “Mickey’s Christmas Carol.” Parents can create an account for kids under 13 through Family Link, and then link their Google Account and voice to Google Home.

Eight gigs of Pixelbook RAM

This one is a bit harder to wrap, but it’s the gift that keeps on giving. With 8GB of RAM on your Pixelbook, you can do multi-task with multiple tabs open. And, Pixelbook’s battery lasts all Silent Night.

Seven colors of Nest Thermostats

Our Nest thermostats come in two versions and seven colors. So turn up the heater in style this holiday season, and get the peace of mind that you’re saving energy while celebrating.

Six uses for Pixel Stand

You can do countless things with Pixel Stand, but here are six of our favorites: it provides Pixel 3 with a fast (up to 10W) wireless charge, you can check the weather before you head out, rock out to your favorite carol, get out of bed on dark December days with Sunrise Alarm, check on packages with Nest Hello (sold separately), and display your favorite holiday memories with Google Photos.

Five years of Chromecast

It’s the perfect time of year to snuggle up inside and binge watch your favorite show (but you may need a subscription). Chromecast brings countless hours of entertainment to your TV-loving friend or family member. And isn’t that really the holiday gift that keeps on giving?

Four colors of Google Home Hub

Who needs elves when you’ve got Google Home Hub to bring you help at a glance? With the Google Assistant built-in, you can use your voice to get the best of Google—Calendar, Maps, Search, YouTube, Google Photos, and more—right on Google Home Hub’s display. Compact, and available in four colors —Chalk, Charcoal, Aqua and Sand—Hub’s right for any room at home.

Three generations of Pixel

The best things in life come in threes. This year, we introduced the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, with the power of Google Assistant. Pixel’s award-winning camera gives you the ability to capture your holiday magic in style. And, Pixel 3 brings the best premium smartphone experience to Android, in—you guessed it—three beautiful colors, including the new Not Pink.

Two accessories to use with Pixel Slate

Pixel Slate—our first Made by Google Chrome OS tablet—is a touchscreen experience that brings the best Google design and Chrome OS functionality together. Whether you’re typing your letter to Santa on the Pixel Slate Keyboard or writing out your holiday wish list using Pixelbook Pen, these two gifts are the perfect stocking stuffers to go along with Pixel Slate.

One place to buy it all

The Google Store is a one-stop shop for all things Made by Google. In addition to the perfect holiday gifts mentioned above, the Google Store also features products from our Made for Google partners. And perfect for the holiday season, you can send gifts on Google Store with custom gift messages printed on Google-branded greeting cards. Check out all of the amazing holiday deals at store.google.com.

A turkey feast with a side of laughs—aka Thanksgiving hosted by Amy Poehler

There’s a lot going on this time of year—traveling, planning for the holidays and prepping the house for guests—so we partnered with NBC to enlist some of our favorite comedians to lighten the mood. Here’s how Amy Poehler is folding her festive turkey napkins for the occasion with some of her funny friends—Maya Rudolph, Tiffany Haddish, Chelsea Peretti and Amy Sedaris (you might have heard of them):

As you might imagine, this was a particularly funny Friendsgiving, filmed with lots of outtakes.

friendsgiving gif

After you’re done laughing, you probably need to start getting ready for your guests—and Hub is here to help with that. Whether you’re stuffing the bird or dicing onions, Google Home Hub can be the sous chef you need for the holidays. You can:

  • Set multiple timers, one for the turkey, another for the green beans, and another for the mac and cheese—for example, “Hey Google, set a cookie timer for 10 minutes.”
  • Figure out how to chop an onion using how-to videos from YouTube—even if you’re already in the middle of a recipe, you can say, “Hey Google, show me how to knead dough on YouTube.”
  • Try “Hey Google, talk with Tasty” to get access to the entire catalog of 3,000+ recipes for all your holiday cooking needs.
  • Rally the family and friends around the dinner table with our Broadcast feature. A simple “Hey Google, broadcast dinner is ready” and all the Google Home smart devices in your home will alert everyone that it’s time to eat.
  • And when it’s all over, just say, “Hey Google, clean out my fridge” to get recipe ideas for the ingredients left in the refrigerator… perfect for leftovers.

If you need a break or a little help, Google Home Hub is here with the answers. Let Amy and her friends keep you laughing, while Hub helps you with cooking.

Celebrating Mickey Mouse’s 90th anniversary with Google Home

Everyone’s favorite pal is celebrating his 90th anniversary and Google Home is getting in on the fun. Here are a few ways you can wish Disney’s Mickey Mouse a happy birthday:

Revisit 90 years of Mickey in NYC

Mickey: The True Original Exhibition celebrates Mickey Mouse’s influence on art and pop culture throughout history. Running now through February 10, the exhibition takes visitors on a journey through Mickey’s impact on arts and creativity in all its forms. The last room in the exhibition features a special, interactive experience with Google Home Mini.

Challenge your family in Mickey’s Game Show

If you can’t make it to the exhibition, you can still join Mickey and his friends for a birthday celebration at home. You’ll team up with Daisy, Donald, Goofy or Minnie to answer Mickey’s trivia questions. Just say, “Hey Google, play Mickey’s Game Show” to give it a try.

Bring a little Mickey magic to your Mini

Otterbox created a custom base accessory to make your Google Home Mini look like Mickey. Just clip your device into the base to showcase his iconic ears in any room. And if you’d like to play a game with Mickey himself, just say, “Hey Google, play Mickey Mouse Adventure.”

pasted image 0.png

And remember—the Disney fun doesn’t stop there. You can also make storytime more magical with our new Read Along feature. As you read select Little Golden Books aloud, Google Home will play sound effects and music to bring the story to life. If your family loves Mickey Mouse, you can read favorites like Mickey’s Christmas Carol and Mickey Mouse and His Spaceship. To get started, just say “Hey Google, let’s read along with Disney.”

Parents, you can create an account for kids under 13 through Family Link, and then link their Google Account and voice to Google Home.

Makeup a new look with Google Home Hub and Sephora

Your beauty routine just got upgraded. With Google Home Hub, you can now ace your look, hands-free, with help from Sephora.

We know that makeup tutorials are super popular—in fact, over 81 million how-to related beauty searches happened on YouTube in the last year.  And you may have seen some of Sephora’s amazing how-to videos on YouTube, filled with useful makeup, hair and skincare tips and tricks. But it can be hard to coordinate trying out new techniques without getting foundation all over your phone or laptop. Now, you can watch Sephora’s entire catalog of beauty how-to videos, hands-free, on Google Home Hub. Our stylish new smart speaker with a visual display gives you the tips to look stylish and smart too.

All you have to do is say “Hey Google, play contouring videos by Sephora,” (you can swap out “contouring videos” for whatever makeup technique you’d like to see). From there, you’re able to use your voice to pause the video, skip ahead for any length of time, or go back, in case you need to see a crucial step again.

We’ve got five fun ideas to get you started:

  • Want to ace your arch? “Hey Google, play get ready with me eyebrow tutorial by Sephora.

  • Looking to conquer contouring? “Hey Google, play everyday contour tutorial from Sephora.”

  • Navigating a new nightlife look? ”Hey Google, show me a smokey eyes video from Sephora.”

  • Need the right foundation for your skin type? “Hey Google, show me foundation tips videos from Sephora.”

  • Going for glamour? “Hey Google, show me bold lip color videos by Sephora.”

If you’re near one of these 10 flagship Sephora stores—Prudential Center in Boston, Michigan Avenue in Chicago, North Park in Dallas, Century City and Hollywood & Highland in Los Angeles, 34th Street and Union Square in New York City, South Coast Plaza in Orange County, Powell Street in San Francisco, or Valley Fair in San Jose—you can stop by to check out our “Dream Vanity” experience. Use the in-store Google Home Hub to nail your favorite night-on-the-town look, get the perfect smokey eye and see the many other things that Hub can do.

Google Home Hub is now available for sale on Sephora.com and at each of these select stores, so pick up a Hub in the color you love and have Sephora’s beauty directors guiding you at home, anytime you’d like. Now, you can explore, learn and switch up your beauty routine all in one place. Whatever makeup trick or trend you’re looking to try next, Google Home Hub and Sephora are here to help.

Make storytime more magical with Google Home and Disney

When I was a kid, I adored storytime. I have vivid memories of my mom’s singsong narration and my dad’s willingness to read me the same story over and over again. While my parents saw this as an opportunity to spend time together (a real treat!), I now appreciate that this daily ritual also helped me develop important language and literacy skills that I use every day as an adult.

That’s why we’re making storytime a little more magical with Google Home. Starting today, as you read select Little Golden Books aloud, Google Home will play relevant sound effects and music to bring the story to life. We partnered with Disney, one of the best storytellers in the world, to include family favorites like Moana and Coco. To get started, just say “Hey Google, let’s read along with Disney.”

Make reading even more fun with Google Home Mini and Little Golden Books

We wanted to reflect the way families actually read, so if you skip ahead in the book, Google Home will recognize that change and adjust to match the story. If you pause (because we all know kids love to chime in during storytime), ambient music will play until you begin reading again.

Available books include new favorites like Moana, Toy Story 3, Coco and Jack Jack Attack, as well as timeless classics like Peter Pan, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, The Three Little Pigs and Mickey Mouse and his Spaceship. We even added a holiday title—Mickey’s Christmas Carol —to help families get in the spirit this season. Look out for additional books before the end of the year.

You can find the compatible stories alongside Google Home Mini in the books section of your local Walmart, Target and Barnes & Noble stores starting this week. And remember—Google Home already comes with lots of other Disney games, so you can go on adventures with some of your favorite characters right from your living room. This feature will also be available to more smart speakers and Smart Displays with the Google Assistant built in by the end of the year.

For parents who want to give their kids access to the Assistant on Google Home, you can create an account for kids under 13 through Family Link, then link their Google Account and voice to Google Home.

So, next time you’re cozying up with one of your favorite Disney stories, let Google Home enhance the score. We’re sure there’s no better ‘happily ever after.’

Adding three new colors to the Nest Thermostat family

Your home is your space. It’s also a place where you can express your style with color and personal touches. And we want our products to reflect your aesthetic while giving you the help you need. So we recently introduced three new colors to the Nest Learning Thermostat lineup (bringing the total to seven) to give you more options to fit your style.  

These new finishes—black, brass and polished steel—are part of the new Artists Collection, inspired by the work of industrial artists who create beautiful pieces using various metals. Just like the original Nest Learning Thermostat that comes in copper, black, stainless steel or white, these new thermostats are designed to look beautiful in your home while also keeping you comfortable and helping you save energy.

  • Polished steelis a high-end, highly polished design for those who like to keep things timeless and classy.

  • Mirror black is striking and bold, with the deep lacquered black look of a grand piano.

  • Brass is warm and subtle - it can act as a pop of color for your home or blend in with other metal accents you may have.

They can program themselves to create a personalized schedule and turn down automatically to save energy when you’re away. You can control your thermostat from a phone, tablet, Google Home Hub or even an Android Watch or Apple Watch with the Nest or Google Home app. And, you can use your smart speaker or display to change the temperature with your voice—just say, “Hey Google, set the temperature to 68.”

These new Nest Learning Thermostats are available in the US (and the polished steel finish is also available in Canada) for $249.

Robbie Ivey’s story: how technology removes barriers

At Google we believe in the power of technology to make a difference in people’s lives. And for 19-year-old Robbie Ivey from Michigan, that certainly rings true.

Robbie has duchenne muscular dystrophy, which has left him able to control only his eyes, head and right thumb joint. Among the many challenges Robbie and his family face, nighttime is one of the key ones. For years, Robbie’s mom Carrie has set her alarm every few hours to get up and change his position in bed so he doesn’t get bed sores or infections. Earlier this year, a sleep-deprived Carrie put out a message to the Muscular Dystrophy Association asking for help to try and find a better way.  She got a response from Bill Weir, a retired tech worker, who thought he could set up Robbie’s bed to be controlled by voice activation. While working on the bed, Bill had an epiphany: if he can control the bed this way, why not everything else in Robbie’s bedroom universe?

As part of our efforts to spotlight accessible technologies throughout National Disability Awareness Month, we hear directly from Robbie about how technology has helped him gain more independence in his life as he starts off on his first year at Oakland Universityin Rochester.