What's the one thing you've always wanted in your car? If the answer is anything other than "yet another voice assistant" – and it probably is, for most people – you might find Google's latest move a bit strange.
Like some of its biggest competitors (such as Amazon and Apple) have done, Google is bringing hands-free Assistant integration to vehicles, by way of a new partnership between the tech giant, Anker, and JBL. The latter two companies are developing cigarette lighter-powered devices that will act as miniature access points for the AI.
Anker and JBL's devices will let you do just about anything you can with phone or smart speaker-based incarnations of Google Assistant. You can use them to tell Assistant to play music, make phone calls, adjust your smart home devices before you arrive, or even give you driving directions during long trips.
Anker's specific device model is dubbed the "Bolt," and it'll run you about $50 when it ships in February. It keeps things simple on the feature side, only housing two USB-A ports for additional connectivity.
JBL's device, the $60 "Link Drive," is expected to land in the hands of consumers sometime this spring, and it'll be almost identical to the Bolt in terms of functionality (though it seems to have a microphone mute button, unlike the Bolt).
According to The Verge, the Link Drive justifies its higher price tag by housing ambient noise-canceling features. In theory, said features should give the device the ability to ignore sounds like the wind rushing by your window or rain landing on your windshield, allowing for clearer voice commands.
Image courtesy JBL via The Verge