You can now use Google Assistant to navigate in Google Maps. The new feature, announced at the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019 in Las Vegas, United States, works for Android and iOS.
Users can simply say “hey Google, take me home”, to open Google Maps and let Assistant to well, assist along the journey, by using just its voice. They can request for music, search for places along their route or add new stops while using the app.
Replying to text messages will also be easier and safer, as the users can use their voice to ask Assistant to read new messages and send replies. On Android, the Assistant works with SMS, WhatsApp, Messenger, Hangouts and more.
We tested this feature and yes, it does work ... though you have to exercise a little patience when dealing with the AI. While it gets the more common locations easily, such as Sunway Pyramid or Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, it's trickier when you're saying something in Bahasa Malaysia.
After a few tries, it managed to tell me the best route to take from Pantai Batu Buruk in Terengganu to Taman Merdeka in Melaka. It also told us the nearest McDonald’s along the route, and read out the latest messages.
The Assistant reads the messages in its entirety, so if your friend sends you a link to a webpage, be prepared to hear “https://...”. It will give you the option to reply verbally, and you can do so without even taking your eyes off the road.
The Assistant is not just useful during drives, as you will also be able to rely on it when flying. Google shares that soon users will be able to check in, and save and retrieve their boarding passes. This will first start with domestic flights with United Airlines in the US. The Assistant will alert when your flight is ready for check-in, and also book rooms using the Assistant at selected partner hotels.
Another new added feature allows users to opt to use Assistant even when their Android phone is locked. There are many things that the Assistant can help with even through a locked smartphone, which includes showing nearby restaurants, set up and dismiss alarms, schedule reminders and more.
This feature is already available for Pixel users, but will be made available for all Android devices in the next few weeks. On the Google Home front, the Assistant will soon be receiving the Interpreter Mode that will help you translate a language in real time.
You can say “Hey Google, be my French interpreter”, and will receive real-time spoken, or if on Smart Displays written, words to help with the conversation. Google tested this feature at the concierge desk at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas to help with the check-ins and more.