Thankfully, even those of us who aren't attending the event can give this monstrosity a virtual ride through a 360-degree video posted on YouTube. Today, the company introduced a new feature called "Interpreter Mode", which allows its assistant to act as a real-time translator during a conversation between two people.
That extends functionality from Google's Pixel phones to the larger Android ecosystem, a Google rep told me, with any Android device capable of running Assistant being able to take advantage of the new feature. Google notes that messaging features now work with SMS, WhatsApp, Messenger, Hangouts, Viber, Telegram, Android Messages and more. To get started, you can say "Hey Google, be my French interpreter", and when the other person speaks in French, the Assistant device will translate in real-time, either in spoken word or via written translation on a Smart Display. You will be able to check in to your flight (United Airlines domestic at first) and retrieve boarding passes with Assistant.
Earlier this year, Google launched the Home Hub that's basically a voice-activated touchscreen mounted on top of a stand and can play YouTube videos, show recipes and handle other common commands like showing the weather, traffic updates and more.
The flight check-in works if you have a flight confirmation in your Gmail.
This is not all, Assistant can now also book hotels for you. In a change that will be welcomed by grammar sticklers, the assistant now auto-punctuates text messages you dictate - a feature that will be available to both iOS and Android users. Initial partners for that service include Choice Hotels, AccorHotels, InterContinental Hotels Group, Priceline, Mirai and Travelclick. At the time, the company said that it was aiming to roll out support for the Google Assistant in 2018. The Google Assistant is smart enough to understand the context and the whole experience was very slick.
That ability to read out and reply to texts will come in handy now that you can access Google Assistant from the Google Maps app, hopefully reducing the risk of distracted driving.
Google is rolling out Interpreter Mode over the next few weeks to Google Home and Smart Display devices.
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