Nvidia has announced that Google Assistant now works on its video gaming and streaming device, Shield. The addition of the virtual assistant technology from the online search giant will present direct competition to Apple TV. However some analysts are of the view that the move is more of Google taking aim at Amazon than Nvidia opening a battlefront with Apple.
“The real story here is happening behind the scenes. It’s the competition between Google and Amazon – so pulling YouTube from Amazon’s Echo Show is a sign that Google is concerned about how integrated Amazon has become,” Netpop Research’s principal analyst, Josh Crandall, said.
With the voice assistant it will now be possible for users of Shield to fast forward, select which shows to watch as well as conduct online searches using the Google search engine. It will also be possible to show on Google Store using the virtual assistant, order ride-hailing services and check calendars just like one would using a smart speaker such as Google Home.
When one conducts a search the answers will be shown on the television screen in various formats and this will depend on the information requested. It will also be possible to ask the virtual assistant to display slideshows and photos from Google Photos on the TV screen. Shield users will also be offered a free trial of YouTube Red for three months. This will come with ad-free playback.
Using Samsung’s SmartThings, it will also be possible to plug Shield into smart homes in order to adjust thermostats, control lights as well in setting up routines in order to carry out functions such as dimming lights. A SmartThings Link will needed in order to use this functionality. While it usually costs $39, it will be offered at $14 during a limited promotional period.
In order to use the voice assistant on Shield, owners of the device will require an Nvidia controller. This controller consists of a microphones and other accessories which are required to operate the device hands-free. The cost of the controller plus Shield is $200. Independently the control costs $60. Last week Nvidia announced that it would be selling the streaming box at $179 which is the same price that Apple is selling its latest streaming device.
Besides Nvidia’s Shield, Google’s voice assistant is expected to become available on Bravia TVs made by Sony in the next couple of months.