Google has prepared a number of updates to Google Assistant on smart displays, phones, and other products that will see the voice-activated helper become even more ubiquitous. Pixel 3 owners will soon be able to access Assistant in the lock screen. This requires users to opt in; once they do, their phone can respond to “Hey Google” queries without being unlocked. Google highlighted a feature for the Pixel 3 that lets people screen calls via Google Assistant. Assistant answers the call and provides a live, on-screen transcription of the interaction so people can decide whether or not to pick up. Google says this tool will come to the Pixel 3 later this month, and will reach the original Pixel and Pixel 2 in November. Google plans to launch Duplex in select cities later this year. People in New York, Atlanta, Phoenix, and San Francisco will be able to use Duplex to automatically book restaurant reservations. All Android phones will soon be able to see a visual snapshot of their day in Google Assistant. With Assistant open, a quick swipe up shows event recommendations, reminders, and other personalized information throughout the day. Though Google announced the Home Hub, its own smart display, Google plans to empower other smart displays with the latest Assistant features. For example, later this year smart displays will support multi-room audio by connecting with more than one in-home speaker. Smart displays will also gain access to Live Albums from Google Photos, visuals from the Nest Hello Doorbell, and Home View for supporting and controlling all in-home smart devices. All newer Assistant-enabled devices will have access to Digital Wellbeing for managing screen time. Last, Google says Assistant can be used to control a wider variety of gear, such as TVs, set top boxes, smart remotes, and speakers. People will be able to power devices on and off, adjust playback/volume, and browse visual channel guides by voice.
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