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Image credit: Nicole Lee/Engadget

Google-powered smart displays will support multi-room audio

You can also get a snapshot of your day on your phone.
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Nicole Lee/Engadget

Google is shifting its focus from a smorgasbord of new hardware to a slew of Assistant- and software- based features. To begin with, it's rolling out multi-room audio support to all smart displays. Like audio-only Assistant speakers, you can add the screen-equipped devices to speaker groups and play music wherever you are in your home. Also, smart displays and smart speakers alike are receiving a previously hinted-at "Downtime" feature to block access during key hours. A "Filters" option, meanwhile, manages permissions for kids.

Don't worry, phone owners, there are upgrades coming to you as well. Assistant is now making its visual snapshot of the day available to everyone with features like event recommendations, reminders and recent notes -- you just have to say "hey Google" and swipe up to see it. And now that Assistant can recognize specific voices, you can also use the AI helper right from the Android lock screen. If you're running Android Pie, you can rely on Assistant to check your screen time or turn on the wind down mode as the day comes to a close.

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