Google's voice-assisted software service, Google Assistant, has been steadily adding new features as it looks to compete with Amazon's rival software, which is known as Alexa. On Wednesday, Google said that users will be able to control their internet-connected GE appliances using Google Assistant.
Google launched its voice-enabled software in 2016. The service can respond to questions about the weather and traffic, and can also connect to things like personal calendars and Gmail accounts to provide personalized information to users who ask. Assistant can be used on Android phones and through Google Home, the company's Internet-connected speaker and home-automation device.
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The new feature lets users ask Assistant to preheat the oven, or make sure a laundry cycle is completed, provided those devices are connected to the Internet. Once Google Assistant users activate this ability in the Assistant app, they can speak into their mobile app or their Google Home and ask GE's voice assistant–known as Geneva Home–to perform tasks.
For example, users can say "Ok Google, ask Geneva Home to set the oven timer for
10 minutes," which will tell the GE connected oven to set its timer. Users can also say, "Ok Google, ask Geneva Home if the dishes are clean" to check if the dishwasher has completed its cycle.
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Adding the ability for Google Assistant to talk to other internet-connected devices is all part of Google's broader strategy to make its voice assistant more useful in the home. Part of this involves convincing and encouraging manufacturers like GE to develop these types of integrations.
Google is also playing a bit of catch up to Amazon's Alexa, because Alexa had a year head start on Assistant. Amazon's Echo Device was also launched a year before Google launched its home automation device, Home. GE already has a similar skill for Amazon's Alexa assistant.