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CES 2019: Google shows off new tools for its voice assistant — VIDEO

Updated January 8, 2019 - 8:07 pm

Foreign travel may have become just a bit easier.

Tech giant Google on Tuesday showed off its new instant translation service that quickly turns a few dozen languages into English and vice versa.

CES attendees lined up for as long as half an hour outside Google’s pavilion to see the new voice-activated abilities the Silicon Valley company is launching.

Google’s Interpreter Mode works on Google Home and Smart Display devices and will roll out over the next few weeks.

English speakers seeking to communicate on the go with a Spanish speaker can activate the new service by saying “Hey Google, be my Spanish interpreter.” The service translates speech within seconds audibly and — for those with a Smart Display — visually.

Google foresees the product helping foreigners check in at hotels and thus perhaps coming to the Strip.

That isn’t the only way the company hopes to shake up the travel industry. Google will enable people to check in for flights and book hotels through its voice-activated assistant. The service initially will be limited to domestic flights with United Airlines and several hotel booking partners.

For those who needed greater visualizations of Google Assistant, the tech company offered a three-minute train at its booth that went through a model cartoon home, showcasing the voice assistant’s abilities.

Smart transport

The company is also launching the capability to share maps and reply to text messages while driving through voice activation. The tech company’s voice-activated assistant can be built into cars or connected via an accessory.

The impact of technology on cars is a major theme again at this year’s show.

LG President and Chief Technology Officer I.P. Park during a Monday evening CES keynote address predicted that car windows would also serve as screens. Passengers will be able to video chat with friends and family, shop online and watch movies all from the window screen, his presentation showed.

BMW on Tuesday showed off what it thinks the car of the future might look like. Featuring “smart material” that allows passengers to control features by dragging their finger across the seat, the autonomous SUV uses voice activation and features no brake and gas pedal.

Contact Todd Prince at 702-383-0386 or tprince@reviewjournal.com. Follow @toddprincetv on Twitter.

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