The Google Assistant voice-responsive personal assistant technology that is currently available with Google Home, certain Android smartphones and iPhones is on its way to a lot more devices.
Several new audio speakers from companies such as Sony, Panasonic, Onkyo, Mobvoi and Anker will soon integrate Google Assistant, the company announced this week at the IFA 2017 consumer electronics and home appliances trade show in Germany.
The integration will allow users to interact with these devices using simple voice commands. The speakers are scheduled for release later this year and with the addition of Google Assistant will enable the devices to respond to users' questions, such as to check the local temperature or to get a weather forecast for instance. It will also let users keep track of their daily schedules and their music lists.
Just as it is possible with Google Home currently, the new speakers will allow consumers to control connected smart home devices such as home lighting or heating systems using voice commands. For instance, a user could instruct a Sony speaker equipped with Google Assistant to 'dim the lights' or to turn up the heat or open the garage door.
Consumers will also be able to set up multiple accounts on their Google Assistant-enabled speakers. Speech recognition capabilities built into Assistant will allow the audio speakers to distinguish between the voices that are spoken into them.
Most of the new speakers will be available later this year in the U.S., Canada, Germany, France and Australia, said Abhi Taneja, senior director of Google Assistant. However, the availability of some models will differ by region he said in a blog.
In addition to products with Assistant built into them, some manufacturers will announce products that work with the Google technology, Taneja said. These are products that can be controlled through voice commands issued to Google Assistant.
South Korean electronics giant LG for instance will later this year announce appliances such as vacuums, washers and dryers that users can control via Assistant. A consumer wanting to know if his or her clothes are washed could ask the dryer "OK Google, are my clothes clean?'" Taneja said as an example of how users can interact with devices controlled by Assistant.
Google formally released Assistant in 2016.. The product is the result of the company's efforts around speech recognition for the past several years. Google CEO Sundar Pichai has touted the technology as an example of the company's growing expertise both in the voice recognition and in the machine intelligence spaces. Pichai has previously described Assistant as being central to Google's efforts to make its products more easy and intuitive for users to interact with.
In addition to Google's own virtual assistant and several Android and iOS smartphone models, Assistant currently works with products from some 70 home automation manufactures. Among them are products from Honeywell, TP-Link and Wemo.