The Google Assistant can now track flights for you
For frequent fliers, Google Home may now beat the Amazon Echo.
Google announced on Wednesday afternoon that Google Assistant, which runs on either Google Home or the Pixel phone, can find flights and track flight pricing for you.
Here’s how it works. You ask Google how much flights are to a certain destination. Then, “the Assistant on Google Home will respond with the best flight price for this route right now, your desired dates, and then ask if you want to keep track of flight prices,” the company explains.
Google gave this example of the conversation flow:
– You: “How much are flights to Miami?
– Google Home: “Roundtrip flights from NYC to Miami leaving in two weeks start at $301. Do you have any dates in mind?”
– You: “Yes, June 1st to 10th.”
– Google Home: “Roundtrip flights from NYC to Miami leaving June 1st and coming back June 10th start at $390. Would you like me to track prices for the cheapest flights on those dates?
If you decide to track flight prices, you’ll get an email confirming that you have started tracking the flight prices and continue to receive emails from Google Flights when the price of a ticket changes significantly.
The new feature can also translate words and phrases for you into different languages (helpful if you’re going to a different country), and answer questions like whether you need a visa in a certain country or what the weather is like there. When you return from your trip, you can ask Google Home to stream your vacation photos via Chromecast onto your TV.
But is this feature enough to give Google an edge over Alexa? If you’re a frequent traveler, maybe. Plus, Google Home costs $130, while Amazon’s Alexa costs $180, and it allows you to search things on Google.
But the Echo beats Home in many ways, as CNET laid out in this helpful chart. It has more smart home partnerships, lets your order stuff on Amazon and is integrated with Amazon and lets you order food and an Uber, for example. The site concluded in February that “for now, the Amazon Echo beats the Google Home 2-1.”
Whatever you choice, one thing is clear: The Home/Echo battle will mean more cool features for consumers. “The competition can only be a good thing,” CNET writes. “Hopefully, the Home pushes Alexa to be more conversational and Alexa pushes the Home to aggressively pursue third party support. With Apple reportedly also developing a similar device, one thing’s for sure: the game is on.”
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