GOOGLE HAS expanded the reach of Google Assistant still further with a string of announcements at IFA.
Front and centre of the list, you can now use Whatsapp to make video and audio calls, the first video calling service to be added that wasn't ruddy Google ruddy Duo.
Also new, you can now turn selected phone and tablet handsets into a Google Home type device by docking it - much as Amazon has done with its Fire tablet range.
It's referred to as "Google Assistant Ambient Mode" and gives compatible devices functionality first glimpsed with the Google Pixel Stand, but augmented with much of the same information that appears on your Google Home screen. The new mode will debut on the new Lenovo Smart Tab range and the latest Nokia phones.
A glut of new speakers and soundbars have been added to the release schedule from brands including JBL, Philips, Konka, Seiki, and Braun Audio. More Android TVs are scheduled from Hisense, Sony, TCL, Philips, Changhong, Haier, Skyworth, Metz, Vestel, Sharp, JVC, XGIMI, RCA and SmartTech.
If you don't fancy the recently released Google Nest Home Hub Max or the original Google (Nest) Home Hub, Lenovo has announced a 7-inch version of its popular smart display range, along with improved functionality and availability for its bedside Smart Clock, which we were rather taken by when we reviewed it.
Google Assistant will also be coming to headphones from JBL, Harman Kardon, Bose, Cleer, Halo, Philips and Sony and the Home Connect consortium are adding compatibility with their range of kitchen products from Bosch, Siemens, Neff, Thermador and Gaggenau. Plus there's a new oven from Electrolux and Liebherr. Oh and a new door lock from Nuki.
After it was revealed recently that Google had slipped into third place in the smart speaker war, it seems the company has come out fighting, and we could well see that situation reversed soon, especially if the Black Friday offers that come in look as tasty as we all hope. μ
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