Tag Archives: Google Assistant

Interpreter mode expands globally to airports, banks and more

Our goal with the Google Assistant is to help people get things done, and one of the most powerful ways we can do that is by enabling people to connect with one another. Last year, we introduced a real-time translation feature called interpreter mode to help hotel guests communicate with concierge staff—even if they don’t speak the same language. We brought the feature to smart speakers, Smart Displays and most recently to phones, so you can now get translation help on the go.

Today, we’re partnering with systems integrators Volara and SONIFI to launch a full-service solution to help businesses around the world remove language barriers for their customers. So if you’re a business, you can now get help translating conversations with your guests across 29 languages in real time using just a Nest Hub.

This new solution means that interpreter mode will be expanding to new places like airports (Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport), airport lounges (American Airlines Admirals Club at Los Angeles International Airport, Airport Dimensions), banking (HSBC), organizations managing live sporting events (Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and Ooredoo at Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar), organizations aiding humanitarian efforts (Mercy Corps, Human Rights First) and hospitality management (Delaware North), in addition to more hotels (seven new Caesars Entertainment properties including Bally’s Las Vegas, The LINQ Hotel + Experience, Flamingo Las Vegas, Paris Las Vegas, Harrah’s Las Vegas, Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino and Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, along with Best Western® Hotels & Resorts properties in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and our first international partners Shibuya Stream Excel Hotel Tokyu in Japan and W Doha Hotel & Residences in Qatar).

To give you an idea of how exactly interpreter mode can be useful in these spaces: Each year, more than 21 million passengers travel through John F. Kennedy International (JFK) Airport’s Terminal 4 (T4) in New York. T4 is operated by JFKIAT, owned by Schiphol USA, a U.S. affiliate of Amsterdam based Schiphol Group. Of all customers in T4, 65 percent are international travelers, many of whom are visiting the U.S. for the first time. Flying can be very stressful for passengers, especially when struggling to understand the native language. Customers traveling through T4 have been delighted, and somewhat relieved, to use interpreter mode at the information desks located within the terminal. Travelers can get assistance with locating luggage, navigating the terminal, finding concessions, and locating ground transportation. Meanwhile, Guest Services staff are finding interpreter mode to be invaluable in fostering communication that enhances the customer experience traveling through and from the airport.

Assistant interpreter mode

Interpreter mode can also help in other scenarios. Mercy Corps, a global humanitarian organization based in Oregon, uses the Assistant’s interpreter mode to translate conversations with people who are seeking to build better lives and transform their communities for good. One Syrian refugee was able to use her cooking talents to open a business of her own so she could share traditional, homemade dishes with her new community. By using interpreter mode to communicate with the team at Mercy Corps, she was able to secure a grant to support her endeavor, which has now grown into a restaurant and catering service.


Learn more about how interpreter mode can help your business better communicate and engage with guests.

A more helpful Google Assistant for your every day

Available in more than 90 countries, the Google Assistant now helps more than 500 million people every month to get things done across smart speakers and Smart Displays, phones, TVs, cars and more. At CES, we’re announcing new features that make the Assistant more helpful throughout your day when you’re at home, in the car or on your phone. 

The helpful home

We’ve come a long way in making it easier to set up smart devices with the Google Assistant, and we’ll continue working to make the experience faster and devices easier to find through your phone. When you set up your smart device through the manufacturer’s app, you’ll receive a notification on your Android phone or see a “suggestion button” when you open up the Google Home app that will prompt you to connect the device with your Assistant. You’ll then be able to easily complete set-up in just a few taps without needing to re-enter your account credentials.

We also want to give you more granular control of your smart home devices. With a new feature called Scheduled Actions coming out later this year, you will be able to ask the Assistant to turn on/off or start/stop a compatible smart device at the time of your choosing. For example, you can say, “Hey Google, run the coffee maker at 6 a.m.” And from within the Google Home app, you can control more than 20 new devices, including AC units, air purifiers, bathtubs, coffee makers, vacuums and more, all from one place.  

This year, you’ll find more smart devices from top brands that will work with the Assistant, including August Smart Locks, Philips Hue HDMI Sync Box, Telus Wi-Fi Hub routers, GE Appliances Ultrafresh Front Load Washer, MOEN shower, D-Link Outdoor Wi-Fi Spotlight camera, VIAROOM Smart, Somfy TaHoma Hub, Yeelight Staria Bedside Lamp Pro and MerossSmart’s garage door opener. For example, you can create an immersive lighting experience while you’re watching a movie by using the Assistant to turn on the Philips Hue HDMI Sync Box, which will sync your Philips Hue smart lights with your TV, coming later this Spring. 

Visit the Google Store to find tons of devices for your home—from lights to security cameras—that work with the Assistant.

Built for families

Smart speakers and Smart Displays can be powerful tools to help people communicate and stay on the same page. This year, we’re thinking about how the Assistant can better help households stay organized and connected. 

With household notes, you will soon be able to clear out the clutter of paper notes around the house and ensure notes are seen in one central location by creating digital sticky notes with the Assistant on your Smart Display. Anyone at home can create or view these notes without needing to sign in. For example, as you head out the door in the morning, you can leave a note informing other household members that you already fed your pet. Simply say, “Hey Google, leave a note that says I already fed Max breakfast.”

household notes_1.png

You can also put your most important contacts on “speed dial” with household contacts, so that anyone at home can quickly and easily make calls on your speakers and Smart Displays. Once set up, anyone can dial your neighbor Sarah by saying "Hey Google, call Sarah" or by tapping on Sarah's name on your Smart Display's household contacts list. Both features will be rolling out later this year. 

Advancing speech technology 

One of the strengths of the Assistant is how we can use our advancements in language understanding and speech to bring helpful features to your phone. Today at CES, we’re previewing a new experience that enables natural reading of long-form content. Unlike traditional screen readers, this experience is built on new voice datasets to create more expressive and more natural sounding voices, so it’s easier to listen for a longer period of time. There are many potential ways in which this can be helpful, but one area we’re exploring is reading webpages with long-form content on your phone—like a news article, blog or short story—out loud. From your Android device, just say “Hey Google, read it” or “Hey Google, read this page” when you’re viewing an article. The content can be translated into 42 languages, such as Hindi, German or Spanish. We’re also looking to include auto-scroll and text highlighting capabilities that help users read the text as it’s being read aloud.

Check out a preview of the new experience with the Assistant that enables natural reading of long form content on your phone, like a news article, blog or short story, outloud.

Interpreter mode, a real-time translation feature for your phone, Smart Display or smart speaker, allows people to have free-flowing conversations with each other⁠—even if they don’t speak the same language. Starting today, businesses around the world can bring interpreter mode to their guests through our partners Volara and SONIFI. As part of this new solution, we’re expanding the technology to new hotels, airports, sports stadiums, organizations aiding humanitarian efforts and more. 

Designed for privacy

Continuing our commitment to privacy, the Google Assistant is built to keep your information private, safe and secure. For instance, the Assistant is designed to wait in standby mode until it is activated, like when you say “Hey Google.” And when it’s in standby mode, the Assistant won’t send what you are saying to Google or anyone else. By default, we don’t retain your audio recordings and you can decide if you’d like us to keep your audio to make Google speech products more helpful to you and better for everyone. 

The Google Assistant is built to keep your information private, safe and secure while helping make your life a little easier.

It’s easier than ever to use Google’s privacy controls with a little help from the Assistant. Ask questions like “How do you keep my information private?” to get answers to the most common privacy and security questions. And with just your voice, you can delete Assistant activity from your Google Account by saying things like “Hey Google, delete everything I said to you this week.”

At CES, we also announced we’re adding two new voice actions for people to easily control their privacy, such as “Hey Google, that wasn’t for you,” which lets you tell the Assistant to forget what it heard if an unintended activation occurs. You can also ask “Hey Google, are you saving my audio data?” to learn about your privacy controls and go directly into the settings screen to change your preferences.

Coming to more TVs, cars, speakers and beyond

Google Assistant is already available on more than 1 billion devices. And soon the Assistant will be coming to lots of new smart displays, speakers, headphones and soundbars from Acer, Aftershokz, Anker Innovations, Belkin, Cleer, Harman Kardon, Konka, JBL, Lenovo, Philips, Seiki and LG. 

As the largest and most frequently used screen in the home, TVs are another important place for people to use the Assistant. We’ve updated Android TV to make it easier for TV manufacturers to build far-field mics into their TVs⁠—starting with the latest models from Hisense and TCL in the U.S.⁠—so it works like any other Assistant-enabled smart speaker. Whether your TV is turned off or you can’t find the remote, you can use the Assistant to access media and entertainment, get answers and control the TV with your voice. The Google Assistant will also be available on Samsung’s new voice-enabled Smart TVs launching in 2020. 

With the Google Assistant built into select cars with Android Automotive OS and all cars with Android Auto compatibility, you can make the most of your time in the car.  Late last year, Volvo Cars revealed its first electric car, the Volvo XC40 Recharge, would have a new infotainment system, powered by Android with the Google Assistant built in. BMW also recently announced wireless Android Auto support

We are focused on making the Assistant simpler to use and more helpful every day, and this is just a first peek at what you can expect from us this year.

Let Google be your holiday travel tour guide

When it comes to travel, I’m a planner. I’m content to spend weeks preparing the perfect holiday getaway: deciding on the ideal destination, finding the cheapest flights and sniffing out the best accommodations. I’ve been dreaming about a trip to Greece next year, and—true story—I’ve already got a spreadsheet to compare potential destinations, organized by flight length and hotel perks.

But the thing I don’t like to do is plot out the nitty-gritty details. I want to visit the important museums and landmarks, but I don’t want to write up a daily itinerary ahead of time. I’m a vegetarian, so I need to find veggie-friendly restaurants, but I’d prefer to stumble upon a good local spot than plan in advance. And, since I don’t speak Greek, I want to be able to navigate transportation options without having to stop and ask people for help all the time.

So I’ve come to rely on some useful Google tools to make my trips work for the way I like to travel. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.

Let Maps do the talking

Getting dropped into a new city is disorienting, and all the more so when you need to ask for help but don’t know how to pronounce the name of the place you’re trying to get to. Google Maps now has a fix for this: When you’ve got a place name up in Maps, just press the new little speaker button next to it, and it will speak out a place's name and address in the local lingo. And if you want to continue the conversation, Google Maps will quickly link you to the Google Translate app.

gif of Google Translate feature in Google Maps

Let your phone be your guidebook

New cities are full of new buildings, new foods and even new foliage. But I don’t want to just see these things; I want to learn more about them. That’s where Google Lens comes in as my know-it-all tour guide and interpreter. It can translate a menu, tell me about the landmark I’m standing in front of or identify a tree I’ve never seen before. So whenever I think, “I wonder what that building is for,” I can just use my camera to get an answer in real time. 

using Google Lens to identify a flower

Photo credit: Joao Nogueira

Get translation help on the go

The Google Assistant’s real-time translation feature, interpreter mode, is now available on Android and iOS phones worldwide, enabling you to have a conversation with someone speaking a foreign language. So if I say, “Hey Google, be my Greek translator,” I can easily communicate with, say, a restaurant server who doesn’t speak English. Interpreter mode works across 44 languages, and it features different ways to communicate suited to your situation: you can type using a keyboard for quiet environments, or manually select what language to speak.

gif of Google Assistant interpreter mode

Use your voice to get things done

Typing is fine, but talking is easier, especially when I’m on vacation and want to make everything as simple as possible. The Google Assistant makes it faster to find what I’m looking for and plan what’s next, like weather forecasts, reminders and wake-up alarms. It can also help me with conversions, like “Hey Google, how much is 20 Euros in pounds?”

Using Google Assistant to answer questions

Photo credit: Joao Nogueira

Take pics, then chill

When I’m in a new place, my camera is always out. But sorting through all those pictures is the opposite of relaxing. So I offload that work onto Google Photos: It backs up my photos for free and lets me search for things in them . And when I want to see all the photos my partner has taken, I can create an album that we can both add photos to. And Photos will remind me of our vacation in the future, too, with story-style highlights at the top of the app.

photo of leafy old town street

Photo credit: Joao Nogueira

Look up

I live in a big city, which means I don’t get to see the stars much. Traveling somewhere a little less built up means I can hone my Pixel 4 astrophotography skills. It’s easy to use something stable, like a wall, as a makeshift tripod, and then just let the camera do its thing.

a stone tower at night with a starry sky in the background

Photo credit: DDay

Vacation unplugged

As useful as my phone is, I try to be mindful about putting it down and ignoring it as much as I can. And that goes double for when I’m on vacation. Android phones have a whole assortment of Digital Wellbeing features to help you disconnect. My favorite is definitely flip to shhh: Just place your phone screen-side down and it silences notifications until you pick it back up.

someone sitting on a boat at sunset watching the shoreline

Photo credit: Joao Nogueira

Source: Google LatLong


Interpreter mode brings real-time translation to your phone

You’ve booked your flights, found the perfect hotel and mapped out all of the must-see local attractions. Only one slight issue—you weren’t able to brush up on a new foreign language in time for your trip. The Google Assistant is here to help.


Travelers already turn to the Assistant for help researching and checking into flights, finding local restaurant recommendations and more. To give you even more help during your trip, the Assistant’s real-time translation feature, interpreter mode, is starting to roll out today on Assistant-enabled Android and iOS phones worldwide. Using your phone, you can have a back and forth conversation with someone speaking a foreign language.


To get started, just say “Hey Google, be my German translator” or “Hey Google, help me speak Spanish” and you’ll see and hear the translated conversation on your phone. After each translation, the Assistant may present Smart Replies, giving you suggestions that let you quickly respond without speaking—which can make your conversations faster and even more seamless.
Google Assistant_interpreter mode on mobile.gif

Interpreter mode helps you translate across 44 languages, and since it’s integrated with the Assistant, it’s already on your Android phone. To access it on iOS, simply download the latest Google Assistant app. Interpreter mode also features different ways to communicate suited to your situation: you can type using a keyboard for quiet environments, or manually select what language to speak.


Whether you’re heading on a trip this holiday season, gearing up for international travel in the New Year, or simply want to communicate with family members who speak another language, interpreter mode is here to remove language barriers no matter where you are.


Gute Reise! Translation: “Enjoy your trip!”

Interpreter mode brings real-time translation to your phone

You’ve booked your flights, found the perfect hotel and mapped out all of the must-see local attractions. Only one slight issue—you weren’t able to brush up on a new foreign language in time for your trip. The Google Assistant is here to help.


Travelers already turn to the Assistant for help researching and checking into flights, finding local restaurant recommendations and more. To give you even more help during your trip, the Assistant’s real-time translation feature, interpreter mode, is starting to roll out today on Assistant-enabled Android and iOS phones worldwide. Using your phone, you can have a back and forth conversation with someone speaking a foreign language.


To get started, just say “Hey Google, be my German translator” or “Hey Google, help me speak Spanish” and you’ll see and hear the translated conversation on your phone. After each translation, the Assistant may present Smart Replies, giving you suggestions that let you quickly respond without speaking—which can make your conversations faster and even more seamless.
Google Assistant_interpreter mode on mobile.gif

Interpreter mode helps you translate across 44 languages, and since it’s integrated with the Assistant, it’s already on your Android phone. To access it on iOS, simply download the latest Google Assistant app. Interpreter mode also features different ways to communicate suited to your situation: you can type using a keyboard for quiet environments, or manually select what language to speak.


Whether you’re heading on a trip this holiday season, gearing up for international travel in the New Year, or simply want to communicate with family members who speak another language, interpreter mode is here to remove language barriers no matter where you are.


Gute Reise! Translation: “Enjoy your trip!”

New Google Assistant features to customize your alarm clock

The Lenovo Smart Clock with the Google Assistant makes for a good gift this holiday season. Its compact size fits neatly on your nightstand, offers alarm suggestions based on your calendar, and gently wakes you up with a sunrise alarm that mimics the rising sun.

And with the latest software update rolling out globally today, your device can be customized to your environment. “Impromptu” is a new alarm option that gives you a ringtone that fits your situation, based on things like the time of day or weather. It’s powered by machine learning technology from our Magenta open source project. For example, if your alarm goes off early in the morning and the weather is less than 50 degrees, you may hear this ringtone.

Thanks to your continued feedback, you’ll also notice other improvements on your Smart Clock. We’ve fine-tuned the automatic brightness, added a music recommendation card to help you get to your playlists faster, and provided more granular control over how long your alarm lasts (now up to 60 minutes). 

And just in time for the holidays, you can find the Lenovo Smart Clock at a great deal from popular retailers like Best Buy, The Home Depot,Sam’s Club and Lenovo.com

5 ways to beat holiday stress with the Google Assistant

Five more gifts to buy, three projects to wrap up before the holiday break and one big family dinner to host. Anyone else have an end-of-the-year list like this? Here's how the Google Assistant is helping me get through it all:

1. Stay organized with notes and lists

If you’re like me, inspiration strikes when you’re busy, like while cooking, commuting or playing with the kids. Starting to roll out today, you can use your Assistant to create and manage your notes and lists in Google Keep, Any.do, AnyList, or Bring! across Assistant-enabled phones and smart speakers. Lists are also available on Smart Displays. 


To get started, simply connect the Assistant with the app you use to create notes or lists. Select the “Services” tab in your Google Assistant settings and then choose your preferred provider name from the “Notes and Lists” section. Once connected, new notes and lists created from supported Assistant surfaces will appear in your chosen provider. You can also ask the Assistant for your historical notes and lists that were createdbefore you connected the Assistant with your chosen provider, but these will not be visible in the provider’s app.


Here are a few things to try, starting with “Hey Google…”:

  • “Create a holiday gift list.”

  • “Add Chromebook to my holiday gift list.”

  • “Add cranberries to my grocery list.”

  • “Take a note.”

  • “Show me my notes.”

2. Assign reminders to your housemates and family members 

Assignable reminders help families and housemates collaborate and stay organized all year around. You can create reminders for your partner or roommate to pick up eggnog from the store, order gift wrapping paper or mail your holiday cards. To assign a reminder, ask your Assistant, “Hey Google, remind Nick to pick up Mom from the airport tonight.”  

3. Find and share photos using just your voice

It’s now easier than ever to find and share your favorite holiday memories, simply by using your voice. On your Android phone, just say, “Hey Google, look up photos from this weekend," tap your favorite pictures and then say, "Hey Google, share these photos with Lizzie.” Your Assistant helps you search through your photos, pick your favorites, and send them to your friends or family. 

4. Listen to podcasts by topic

Heading to a potluck and tasked with bringing an entree? Turn to your Assistant for some cooking inspiration. When you ask the Assistant for podcasts about a certain topic—“Hey Google, find a podcast about holiday cooking”—it’ll suggest relevant episodes for you. Or if you’re looking to get a head start on productivity and self improvement, just ask, “Hey Google, show me podcasts about New Year's resolutions.” The feature is available now in English on all Assistant-enabled devices globally. 

5. Enjoy a pick-me-up while running errands 

And, while you’re getting your last minute holiday shopping done, the Assistant can help you get a sweet treat or or a pick-me-up from Dunkin’. If you have the Dunkin’ App installed on your Android phone, just say “Hey Google, order a latte from Dunkin,” to quickly start your order.


I hope these features will make your holiday season just a little bit easier, so you can focus on spending time with family.


Live from the North Pole, it’s Santa’s Village!

Good day from Santa Tracker HQ! I’m Dimplesticks the Elf, news anchor for the North Pole Broadcasting Channel. This year, our candy-cane broadcast antenna extends beyond Santa’s Village with Google as our official global rebroadcast partner.

Every day over the next three weeks, you can ask your Google Assistant for my reports from the top of the world. Just say, “Hey Google, what’s new at the North Pole?” You’ll also catch my daily North Pole Newscast alongside other minty-fresh NPBC programming like PMZ, the Reindeer Report, and Good Sleigh Today, on Google’s social channels.

What’s new in Santa’s village

And now for our top headline: Santa’s Village has a big makeover this year. Scroll down from the snowy scene up top to discover Santa’s new toy factory, his greenhouse and the reindeer gym. Just click or tap your way to over two dozen games and learning activities—including a new 3D snowbox where you can build your own wintery scene. 

Santa's Village

There are two kinds of scoops in my world: mint chocolate chip ice cream, and stories nobody else has reported. So here's some breaking news: holiday cheer is spilling over from the North Pole, and into a bunch of different Google products.

More ways to be merry 

On Google Earth, test your knowledge of holiday traditions around the world, or take a tour of the tasty treats people eat in various countries this time of year. Then jingle all the way to Image Search (best on mobile) or Tenor and look for Santa Tracker GIFs to make all your messages merry and bright. And it turns out my reporting isn’t the only sweet treat from the Google Assistant. Just ask, “Hey Google, give me a Santa joke" for some good ol’ ho-ho-ho, or say, “Hey Google, call Santa” to help him solve a wacky problem—coming up with a musical genre for his new band. Parents who want their kids to use the Google Assistant can create an account for their kids under 13—or the applicable age in your country—through Family Link.

Some of you eagle-eyed jollymakers may have observed that a few of the activities in the village are still hidden. Mrs. Claus gave me an exclusive overview of what’s to come, but because I promised to keep everything she told me under wraps, all I can say is that in a few more sleeps, there’ll be even more ways to play. Gotta keep you on your mistle-toes! 

We’re sticking with this story tighter than an elf’s tongue on a frozen pole. (Ow!) So follow me and my esteemed colleagues from the North Pole Broadcasting Channel on Google’s social accounts. Or you can search for Santa Tracker on Google for a link to a daily dose of delight.

With your Elfwitness News, I’m Dimplesticks at the North Pole!

Helping families stay connected with the Google Assistant

Every night at our house, bedtime means storytime with Dad. A time when our daughters get to share an experience that’s just between them, get to share storylines and characters with Dad, and I get a few minutes to myself. 

But when my husband deploys, everything changes. And getting recordings of stories from Dad halfway around the world is technically tricky. Listening to him read “The Wind in the Willows” involved downloading each file from Drive and casting it to a Nest Mini. We knew there had to be a better way. 

We even asked folks on message boards for help, which is how my daughters and I ended up traveling to Portland to meet with engineers and designers from Instrument and Google Nest. We helped them design something called My Storytime—a new Google Assistant Action that makes it easier for pre-recorded stories to be played back home for loved ones.

Now, no matter where you are, you can visit MyStorytime.com to create a private account for your family and begin building your library of recorded stories. And once shared with the parent back home, all they have to say is “Hey Google, talk to My Storytime” to hear your personal stories. 

Hey Google, talk to My Storytime

My daughters and I shared our own experiences and ideas in hopes that it would be useful to the more than 100,000 military parents who deploy every year—and the nearly 250,000 children who are back home. According to one organization, United Through Reading, that’s  40 million bedtime stories missed each year by military children. But storytime isn’t only important to military families. Grandparents who live states away, nurses and police officers who work the night shift, and anyone who travels for work can relate to the struggle of trying to make it home in time to read for bedtime. Because every bedtime story is, at its heart, a love story.  

Nothing can replace Daddy being home, but hopefully My Storytime will help make it just a little bit easier to get through the next deployment and that it brings some comfort to other families as well.


Time is Ticking: Clock Contest live with over $10,000 in prizes

Posted by Martin Aguinis, Flutter Marketing LeadTake the Flutter Clock challenge bannerFlutter Clock is a contest offered by Google, with participation from the Flutter, Google Assistant, and Lenovo teams, that challenges you to build a Flutter clock face application for the Lenovo Smart Clock that is beautiful and innovative. Whether you’re a Flutter expert or novice, we invite you to join us and see what you can create. Over $10,000 in prizes will be awarded to the winners! Visit flutter.dev/clock to enter.

Flutter clock content partnership with Google Assistant and Lenovo

High Level Details

Date: All entries must be submitted by January 20, 2020 11:59 PM PST (GMT-8).

How to Submit: Entries will be collected on the form linked at flutter.dev/clock, but see the Official Rules for full details.

Winners: Submissions will be rated by Google and Flutter expert judges against the following rubric: visual beauty, code quality, novelty of idea, and overall execution.

Prizes: Potential prizes include a fully loaded iMac Pro, Lenovo Smart Display, and Lenovo Smart Clock. Also, all complete and valid submissions will receive a digital certificate of completion. In addition, some of the clock contest submissions might be integrated into the Lenovo Smart Clock's lineup of clock faces, or used as inspiration for future clock faces!

Results will be announced at our Mobile World Congress 2020 Keynote.

Good luck and have fun! Time is ticking…