The next version of Kodi will offer Google Assistant integration

While Netflix and Amazon fight for the next set of exclusive shows, DIY streaming services Kodi and Plex are hard at work on other innovations: Plex, for example, just announced that it would support VR content through the new Plex VR app and, not to be outdone, Kodi has just announced that Google Assistant support is coming in the next version of its software. 

The next version, Kodi 18 (and given the fun codename of ‘Leia’ to honor the late Carrie Fisher), plans to offer Google’s smart assistant integration on Android TV, bringing with it voice search and suggested recommendations. 

If you’re unfamiliar with the Android TV platform, voice search is exactly what it sounds like: you use voice commands to search Android TV’s content library to see which shows and movies are available on which services. These results will now include Kodi as of Kodi 18. 

The latter feature, suggested recommendations, will allow content from Kodi to appear in the top row of content on Android TV alongside recommendations from Google Play TV and Movies, Netflix and YouTube. The idea here is that if, say, you’ve been watching a movie like Kung Fu Panda on Netflix, you might then see films like Kung Fu Panda 2, Shark’s Tale, Shrek or How to Train Your Dragon as recommended content.

Coming to a home theater near you

So when can you expect Kodi to offer these new features? Right now if you’d like. The alpha for Kodi 18 is available to download from the Kodi downloads page - just be forewarned that Kodi 18 is still in development and is likely to have a few bugs.

All that said, if Kodi isn’t your cup of tea Plex is a great alternative that offers many of the same features (plus VR video support) and is also available to download and use for free. 

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.