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Google Home Gets Notifications, Hands-Free Calling, a TV Interface and More (theverge.com) 37

Google has announced several news features for Google Home to help it better compete against the Amazon Echo. The six new features coming to Google Home include: notifications, free calling to phones in the U.S. and Canada, calendar and reminders, more streaming services, a TV interface, and new locations. The Verge details each feature in its report: Notifications: Google calls this feature "proactive assistance." Essentially, Google Home will do its best to alert owners to things they need to know, like reminders, traffic alerts, or flight delays.
Free Calling To Phones In U.S. and Canada: Google is one-upping Amazon by letting the Home dial out to actual landline and mobile phones. Whenever this feature rolls out, you'll be able to ask the Home to call anyone on your contacts list, and it'll dial out to them on a private number.
Calendar and Reminders: You can finally set reminders and calendar entries. Finally.
More Streaming Services: Google Home has already been able to control a handful of music and video services, but it's about to get a bunch of major missing names. For music, that includes Spotify's free tier, Deezer, and SoundCloud. For video, it includes HBO Now and Hulu. On top of that, Home is also getting the ability to stream anything over Bluetooth.
A TV Interface: Sometimes you actually want to see what's going on, so Google's making a TV interface for the Google Home. You'll soon be able to ask the Home to send information to your TV, from basics like the weather and your calendar, to information it's looking up like nearby restaurants or YouTube videos you might want to watch.
New Locations: The Home is going to expand to five new countries this summer: Canada, Australia, France, Germany, and Japan.

Google Home Gets Notifications, Hands-Free Calling, a TV Interface and More

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  • by Cornwallis ( 1188489 ) on Wednesday May 17, 2017 @08:51PM (#54438315)

    We should have a contest to see creative hackers will mess with this. Have Home Notifications call grandma - at 3 in the morning to tell her the grandkids have been kidnapped. Have Home call Iceland - over and over again...

    • We should have a contest to see creative hackers will mess with this.

      Indeed. Google should add it to one of the regular hacking competitions.

      Have Home Notifications call grandma - at 3 in the morning to tell her the grandkids have been kidnapped.

      Are you assuming said hackers have physical access to the device, so they can issue voice commands to make phone calls? If you're assuming that the house has been penetrated, much, much worse than that can be done. Fiddling with the Home is the least of concerns.

      Or are you talking about remote attacks? If that's the case, you're basically assuming they can either (a) break the TLS encryption on the communication between Google's serve

  • need to know (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sheramil ( 921315 ) on Wednesday May 17, 2017 @08:53PM (#54438329)

    "Essentially, Google Home will do its best to alert owners to things they need to know..."

    Things the owners think they need to know, or things Google thinks the owners need to know? There is so much potential for wrongness there, i hardly know where to begin. "Open the garage doors, HAL."

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Important things the owner needs to know, like when the next showing of Beauty and the Beast is on at the local cineplex, or what constitutes a McWhopper at the local BurgerDonalds...

    • It's called advertising. "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet", as Shakespeare put it, although perhaps he would have used another metaphor in this case. Hmm, "A cadaver by any other name..." - this clearly needs a bit of work.

    • "Open the garage doors, HAL."

      I'm afraid I can't do that...until you watch this advert.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Google is bringing popups back with their notifications shit in Chrome too.

  • by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Wednesday May 17, 2017 @09:13PM (#54438437)

    ...Will it do it in the voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android from HHGTTG, or Bender from Futurama? Maybe Robby from Forbidden Planet, or Robot B-9 from Lost In Space?

    *These* are the kinds of things Slashdotters want to know!

    Strat

  • Spying (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 17, 2017 @09:58PM (#54438617)

    Does it still spy on you?

    • Only when it does machine learning stuff over the net.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Only when connected to power socket.

  • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Wednesday May 17, 2017 @10:08PM (#54438645) Homepage Journal

    Sometimes you actually want to see what's going on, so Google's making a TV interface for the Google Home.

    ITYM: Sometimes you actually want to see what's going on, so you turn on firewall packet logging, and whip out your European passport and file a request for all the data they have logged about you and devices you own.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Privacy.

    Seriously, an "always on" audio recorder constantly connected to the Internet, reporting in to an advertising company?

    This is as ripe for abuse as anything I can think of. 2 years or less before some scandal, I'm thinking.

  • by hughbar ( 579555 ) on Thursday May 18, 2017 @04:05AM (#54439709) Homepage
    So you're going allow one tentacle of an AI (more a statistical automat, with a bit of natural language) built by a large for-profit/information-gathering company into your home and personal affairs?

    That, in exchange for some fairly trivial help on things that you can easily do yourself, 'reminders', 'manual Googling' (or preferably DuckDucking), turning the lights on and off. So you can sit on your sofa and gradually turn into an amorphous blob?

    IANALu (I am not a Luddite, as opposed to IANAL) but, as they say, "I don't think so". Really, I don't.
  • But does it do multi-device/multi-room? Can you play the same song on multiple devices? Can you ask a question in one room and just have the closest one answer?

  • They tend to choose very similar, rather nondescript and boring, names for different products, and then they tend to change those names into others, similarly nondescript and boring. It is difficult to keep track of what product is what this particular month.
    • They tend to choose very similar, rather nondescript and boring, names for different products, and then they tend to change those names into others, similarly nondescript and boring. It is difficult to keep track of what product is what this particular month.

      That's because calling your new product the "Google Personal Information Tracker and Surveillance Device" is a bit of a giveaway.

  • I think that they are talking about the Google home being able to use ChromeCast to connect to the TV. Which is over WiFi and not Bluetooth.

    I'll believe the free calling when it comes out.
  • It already does chromecasting. I've used it many times. I suspect they only mean more software options that are tv aware and not audio only.
          The hardware doesn't have bluetooth. You can't add it with a software update. So claiming this as a new feature means completely new hardware.

  • The Amazon Echo was supposedly going to add push notifications last Fall, and they finally announced the feature yesterday. I have hopes of getting access to it via the API and making Alexa announce things like, "Mailbox opened," "basement flooded," and the like.

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.

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