Google and Microsoft have announced a partnership to integrate the former's voice-activated assistant technology with the latter's Xbox One console family.
Launched following the success of the Google Now launcher for Android, Google Assistant takes on the like of Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, and Microsoft's Cortana in attempting to respond to spoken commands in a useful way. As with its rivals, third-party integrations allow Google Assistant to do everything from control your TV to lock your door - and now it can control your Xbox One console, too.
'We think the Assistant can be a great teammate to help you stay focused on playing while still getting things done,' claims Google's Gabriel Rubinsky. 'Available in beta starting today, your Xbox One now works with the Google Assistant, letting you control your gaming experience by voice with any Google Assistant-enabled smart speaker or smart display, like the Google Nest Hub Max, or any Android mobile device.'
The integration is reasonably deep: A Google Assistant tied to an Xbox One can be told to switch the console on and launch a particular game, search for games via voice, take screenshots, record video, open media applications, and control playback and volume. At present, however, it is only available in beta form, and in English, with no word on multilingual capabilities.
The addition of Google Assistant functionality isn't Microsoft's first look at voice control of the Xbox One console: At launch, the consoles were bundled with a next-generation depth-sensing Kinect camera system whose microphones would respond to commands ranging from the taking of a screenshot to the shutting down of the system. Consumer disinterest coupled with Sony's move to remove a similarly-bundled camera from the rival PlayStation 4 and undercut Microsoft on price, however, put paid to that fairly soon after launch.
Instructions on setting up Google Assistant for Xbox One control are available on the Xbox Insiders sub-Reddit.
February 26 2021 | 22:15