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article imageGoogle brings digital assistance to watching TV

By James Walker     Sep 28, 2017 in Technology
Google has announced that Google Assistant is now available on Android TV. The launch comes with several TV-focused voice commands that help you start watching a show, find out what it's about and interact with apps. It's also a new stage for Assistant.
Google said the launch enables TV viewers to "upgrade" their experience using voice commands. Assistant's presence on TVs will let you use any of the digital assistant's regular voice commands while you're watching a show. You can also utilise a range of options aimed specifically at the TV context.
Available commands include "play some music," "show me movies about climbing Mount Everest" and "watch" a named show. Google suggested you could use Assistant's Google Express integration to "order more popcorn" without having to head to the store. When you're done watching TV, commands like "what's on my agenda for today" allow the big screen to be used as a central hub for your daily work, replacing your phone if you've left it in another room.
"With your Assistant on Android TV, you can jump right into your favorite show, find the latest blockbuster, check the score of the big game, dim the lights and more— all with just your voice," said Google. "So dim the lights, order some popcorn and dive into your favorite shows."
The launch allows Google to bring Assistant into the living room, increasing adoption of the underlying AI and broadening its range of contextual applications. Digital assistance is one of the most rapidly developing areas of consumer tech so Google's fighting hard to ensure Assistant remains at the front of the field.
Faced with competition from services like Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa and Samsung Bixby, Google's strategy is to push Assistant onto all of its software platforms. When the AI's available wherever you are, it increases the likelihood you'll actually use it. Instead of having to switch platform with each device you use, you could keep talking to Assistant whether you're on the move or watching a film.
As of today, Assistant's TV presence is still limited though. Initially, Assistant's only available on NVIDIA SHIELD devices. Google said it will roll out to Sony Bravia TVs "in the coming months" but made no mention of any other manufacturers that will also release the update.
Assistant may now support TVs but it seems your chances of actually getting to use it are slim. NVIDIA SHIELD owners who do get the update will be given a free three month trial of YouTube Red, offering unlimited ad-free video streaming with Assistant integration.
More about Google, google assistant, android tv, Android, Television
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