Published: Thu, May 10, 2018
Science | By Dan Gutierrez

Custom routines for Google Assistant are going live

Custom routines for Google Assistant are going live

Starting today, you can choose from six new voices for your Google Assistant. TechJuice tried this in Urdu, but it turns out this language doesn't work with Google Assistant. This new version of the Assistant is built on a tech machine learning technology called Wavenet, which the company started building out some 18 months ago. These voices also include the likes of legendary singer, John Legend. Google calls this feature "continued conversation" and it'll roll out in the coming week. You can ask Google two completely separate questions (for example "What is the weather and who do the Cavaliers play tonight?"), you'll get back two distinct answers. Yes, "Holly" is the official name of Google Assistant's current default voice which was also the name of the tech giant company in a comedy series "Silicon Valley" which follows the misadventures of introverted computer programmers.

The new voices are rolling out to Android and iOS devices. Users can now share estimated time of arrival with their contacts without touching the device. The Assistant will be able to clearly relay the context of the call, understand any long or complex responses and then mark down the details in your calendar. "The Google Assistant doesn't do EVERYTHING".

Google also announced an optional feature that will reward polite kids with replies, such as "Thanks for saying please", "What a nice way to ask me", and "You're very polite". Amazon's new Echo Dot Kids speaker rolled out a similar "Magic Word" feature; when kids say "please" while making a request, Alexa responds with, "By the way, thanks for asking so nicely".

In the summer, the company's first Smart Display will hit the shelves. These devices would be launched in July. Nonetheless, for Google Home users, it's a good news.

Custom routines for Google Assistant are going live
Custom routines for Google Assistant are going live

But Amazon hasn't been sitting still either, and there's still some areas where Google is playing catch-up.

An upgraded "Time Spent" initiative helps you keep track of (and limit) how much time you spent using various apps, an effort to help you feel the "joy of missing out" - you know, JOMO. "In this case, it understands the subject is ataco Tuesday.' It takes care of mundane things like addresses so you can focus on what you want to type", Pichai explained.

Instagram users may soon gain access to a "Mute" option along with a slew of other features.

Unrest on the border of Israel injured more than a thousand people
"Throughout Hamas's activity, fake injuries and the exploitation of women and children are rampant", the IDF said in a tweet. Israel's Supreme Court is now weighing a petition by six rights groups to restrict or ban the use of live fire on the border.

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