Google Assistant is the next generation of Google’s voice control technology, but it’s currently an exclusive to Google’s own phone hardware, the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL, and the recently announced LG Watch Sport and Watch Style.
This makes the recent announcement that the technology will be coming to Sony’s upcoming line of televisions especially interesting.
Not only will these be the first televisions to pack in the technology, but they’ll also be non-Google associated pieces of hardware to be graced with its presence. (Google worked closely with LG on the new smartwatches as part of the Android Wear 2.0 launch.)
Push the button
The sets will work a little differently to a voice assistant device like the Amazon Echo. Instead of constantly waiting for you to address it, you’ll instead have to press a button on the remote to have it respond to your voice.
Rather than being a downside, we think this is a positive. Our Echo is constantly waking to respond to commands it thinks it’s hearing from our television, so we’re glad the new Sony sets won’t be at risk of taking us out of the moment by incorrectly thinking it’s heard the wake command.
Alternatively, you’re also able to use a Google Home speaker to control the television if you want to go completely hands-free.
Once you’ve pressed the wake button you’ll be able to instruct the TV to perform a number of actions including changing the channel, changing inputs and launching apps.
As TVs continue to increase in complexity (and traditional TV remotes continue to struggle to keep up), voice assistants like Google Assistant could be exactly what we need.
- Not in the market for a new TV? Google Assistant could also be coming to the Nexus 5X and 6P.
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Jon Porter is the ex-Home Technology Writer for TechRadar. He has also previously written for Practical Photoshop, Trusted Reviews, Inside Higher Ed, Al Bawaba, Gizmodo UK, Genetic Literacy Project, Via Satellite, Real Homes and Plant Services Magazine, and you can now find him writing for The Verge.