Among Google Assistant’s clutch of new features is a tool for tracking down misplaced handsets, even if they use iOS rather than Android. The others include a streamlined checkout process for ordering takeout and refinements to the "routines" functionality in the Google Home app.
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To locate a lost phone with this update, you simply need to ask your Nest smart speaker or smart display “Hey Google, find my phone,” upon which your phone will emit a special ringing sound even if it’s in silent or Do Not Disturb mode. Even iPhones will work, though you’ll first need to install the Google Home app and enable notifications and critical alerts for it.
The speedy checkout feature, meanwhile, uses the same Google Duplex (opens in new tab) tech that Google Assistant can employ to make restaurant bookings. Here, if you search for a nearby restaurant with the Google App on Android, you can tap “Order Online” and have any partnered restaurants automatically fill out your contact and payment details using your Google Pay data.
Google hasn’t provided a list of these partnered eateries, though it said that it “will be adding more restaurant partners across the U.S. coming later this year.”
The update also builds on Google Home’s routines feature by letting you set your smart home equipment, or Google Assistant itself, to perform certain actions at sunrise or sunset. So, for example, you could order your smart lightbulbs to switch on when the sun goes down.
The fourth major addition also helps provide new routine ideas by suggesting actions you might want but haven’t previously set, like having Google Assistant remind you if your battery is falling low. You can also create a shortcut for routines and place them on your home screen, similar to apps: tapping the shortcut will activate the routine’s actions at your say-so, which might be preferable if you don’t always want to run through the actions at a predetermined time.
The new features are rolling out this week and may already be available on Pixel phones such as the Google Pixel 5.
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