via IFTTT Amazon Alexa and Google Home Updates and New Features – March 18, 2018 – EP 3
Let’s talk about all of the new Amazon Alexa, Amazon Echo, and Google Home updates and new features. This week’s episode is as busy as ever with updates from Amazon and Google for both of their voice-enabled assistant. In fact, I think this is the busiest week yet for updates to these two great devices/systems.
First up this week are a couple of updates to Google Assistant. The first thing I talk about in this video is the fact that Google Assistant is now available on your iPad. The integration on your News screen is very nice and I’ve enjoyed using it instead of Siri.
Next up is a new language for Google Assistant: Hindi. Hindi has now been added and if you pay attention to some of the visuals in the video, you’ll notice that there are a number of others planned. 30 new languages will be available by the end of the year for Google Assistant.
Amazon’s Alexa also received some updates this week. The first thing I talk about is the new Follow Up Alexa capability. This is a major addition and I think it’ll cause Google to make some adjustments as well.
Follow-up on Alexa will listen a couple seconds after a command is completed so you don’t have to say “Alexa” again. You have to enable this setting in your device’s settings, but again this functionality is only starting in the US.
The other big addition from Amazon is the capability to make/receive Alexa calls and Alexa messaging on basically any tablet with the Alexa app. Your best experience will be on the Fire HD tablet, but it’s still a serviceable feature on any Android or iOS tablet. You’ll just need to open up the Alexa app in order to receive calls and/or messages.
Google Home routines are supposed to be out today! Yes, they were supposed to be out last week, but they’re supposed to be on your Google Home app now. Go try out your Google Home routines…and if they’re not there, well, I don’t know what’s going on.
Google is also hinting/talking about a major Google Assistant upgrade. Basically, Google is making it a much more open platform for companies to build off of. They’re offering essentially any device the chance to build custom commands within their integration with Google Assistant. They’ve recently been showing off a robotic arm they built that is controllable by Google Assistant and Google Home (it sorts socks, of course).
Next up is Ecobee, who’ve built the new Ecobee Switch+. It’s the new smart light switch with Alexa on board. You’ll notice a small speaker on top of the switch, and you should also notice the little blue light on the top that looks like any of your Echo devices. Either way, with Alexa on board this is a smart device to have in each of your rooms.
I quickly run through a couple of other new features/skills on Alexa. First up is ‘Answers by Cigna’, an educational application for adults who want to learn all about health terms. I would call it the first of its kind and likely a lead in to triage through your Echo.
Additionally, Alexa commands were now made available on the Cloud Cam device. You can now turn on the Cloud Cam and/or change cameras on your Echo Show or Echo Spot (and show it there too).
Lastly, I talk about the Google Home and Google Home Mini having the capability of playing a number of games. Most of the games are made for children, and I talk specifically about Sound Pet (a Tamagochi of sorts).
All in all, this is the busiest week yet for Amazon Echo, Google Home, and all of the voice-enabled assistants out there. The battle between these two massive companies continues!
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