Google rolling out Google Maps Assistant navigation for Android, iOS

Bessie Dean
January 10, 2019

If you choose to enable it, you can have the Google Assistant on your phone always listening for its hotphrase. Some of the new features announced would be really helpful for millions of people around the world. Both are equally fair responses in my book. At the moment, this will only be available for domestic flights in the U.S. operated by United Airlines.

Google showed off a couple of prototypes at a press event: a small e-ink pad that was pasted on a refrigerator and showed commute times and a tiny button that could be used to activate a Google Assistant controlled device.

In its bid to make Google Assistant an even dominant platform, the Mountain View company has announced that it is launching a preview of its new Google Assistant Connect platform that will allow the device manufacturers to easily integrate the Assistant in their products. To get started, you can say "Hey Google, be my French interpreter", and when the other person speaks in French, the Assistant device will translate in real-time, either in spoken word or via written translation on a Smart Display.

It didn't say when, but as Google's announcement focused on the brand's 2019 activity, we know it'll be sometime this year.

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Another time-saver coming to Google Assistant will be the ability to check into an upcoming flight with the virtual assistant's help. The command will be "Hey Google, check in to my flight". The Assistant will help you calculate your ETA from Google Maps and send the details to friends using any of the aforementioned messenger apps.

Also, the Assistant will also intuitively notify you when the flight is ready for check-in. Initial partners for that service include Choice Hotels, AccorHotels, InterContinental Hotels Group, Priceline, Mirai and Travelclick.

While putting Assistant into Maps seems a logical next step within the Google ecosystem, the bigger reason for this move was the lack of interest among iPhone users. In a demo here at CES today, Behshad Behzadi, the Distinguished Assistant for Google Assistant, explained that one of the challenges Google tries to tackle is acknowledging that there are different ways to ask for the same and information, and that the assistant needs to understand all of them. You will also have access to the usual set of Google Assistant features.

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