Google Starts Piloting Voice Products for Airlines and Hotels

James Marshall
January 10, 2019

If you're in a foreign county or meeting with a person who does not speak the same language as you, the Google Assistant can be used as a translator, or more so as an interpreter in order to get real-time translations of words and sentences as and when you speak in the form of voice output as well as text on screen to aid the conversation. "With just your voice, you'll be able to share your ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival) with friends and family, reply to text messages, play music and podcasts, search for places along your route, add a new stop and auto-punctuate your message", the company said in a statement. What digital assistant you prefer the most and why? Yes, Google Assistant could call up Google Maps or load a driving destination for you, but once you started driving, what it could do for you was pretty limited. Among the new features is the Google Assistant's Interpreter Mode as well as fresh integration in the Google Maps apps on Android and iOS.

Unfortunately, the American tech giant has not yet discussed plans to add the feature to the Google Assistant on smartphones. Via these external devices you give commands to control basic TV functions such as turning on/off your TV or launch apps.

But Google Assistant's latest trick has me re-thinking that for the first time. But it's great that Sonos is even contemplating breaking down the voice assistant barriers.


Meanwhile, for all your bedside requests, Google also showed off Lenovo's new Smart Clock which puts all of the Assistant's features in a handy $80 (£63) companion (UK pricing and availability TBA). Using the new "Gently Wake Up" feature, the Philips Hue lights in your bedroom will simulate the sunrise 30 mins before your alarm goes off.

The consumers can also save and retrieve boarding pass, all with the Google Assistant on Android or iOS. The list of supported languages hasn't been provided yet, but gradually most widely spoken languages should be available in interpreter mode. "The complexity of the integration has meant that it has taken this long", a spokesperson at Sonos told us.

Interestingly, the company also said that "earlier speaker models" will be updated to "work" with the Assistant, so owners of, say, the Play:1, Play:5, Playbase or Playbar could be in luck. There is no word on when either of the feature will be released for the worldwide consumers.

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