Home virtual assistants haven't been around very long, but they are now extremely popular. If you have a "smart home," you definitely need one of these virtual assistants to lend a hand.
You have several choices to pick from. There are Amazon's Alexa, Google Home, and Apple's HomePod with Siri.
Asking your assistant for help is quite easy. Simply say the "wake word," and ask away. Now, Google is making the entire process even easier.
Less 'Hey Google,' OK sign me up
If you have an Alexa-enabled Amazon device you know that you just have to say "Alexa" to get the assistant to wake up. With Apple, you need to say "Hey Siri," and with Google you say "Hey Google."
When you want your assistant to complete multiple tasks, you have to say the wake word multiple times. For example, to turn on the lights and play a song you'd say, "Hey Google, turn the kitchen lights on." Then you'd have to say, "Hey Google, play 'Suspicious Minds' by Elvis."
Google said in a recent blog post that it had heard from tons of people who said saying, "Hey Google" before each follow-up question for the assistant didn't feel natural. That's why the tech giant just released a new feature dubbed Continued Conversation. It's available now on Google Home, Google Home Mini and Google Home Max devices.
Continued Conversation allows you to have a natural back-and-forth conversation without repeating "Hey Google" for each follow-up request. The Assistant will be able to understand when you're talking to it versus someone else, and will respond accordingly.
How to turn on Continued Conversation
You can turn the new feature on in the Google Assistant app. Go to Settings >> Preferences >> Continued Conversation >> slide the toggle on.
Once Continued Conversation is turned on, after asking the Assistant a question, you can ask a follow-up, set a reminder, or add something to your shopping list without having to say "Hey Google" each time.
When you're done interacting with the Assistant just say "stop" or "thank you." That will end the conversation and the Assistant will know you are no longer talking to it.
This should make interacting with the virtual assistant more natural and less annoying. You can probably expect to see similar features in the near future for the competing virtual assistants. We'll keep you posted...and you don't even need to ask us twice.
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5 reasons you'll love Amazon's Alexa
If you haven't joined the universe of smart speakers, it's about time that you do. Amazon's smart speakers feature the popular voice assistant, “Alexa.” It's an extremely popular choice that you'll find yourself using constantly on a daily basis. To add Alexa to your life, you'll need to pick up one of Amazon's smart speakers.