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Just in time for the holidays, Google has updated Google Assistant with a smattering of new features for your home and phone.

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1. Smart displays get more cooking smarts

Smart displays that work with Google Assistant, like the Google Home Hub, will learn which recipes you prefer and recommend them right on the home screen. You can also save recipes to a virtual cookbook for later reference. 

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2. Smart speakers talk back

A feature called Broadcast already let a family member bellow a message from their associated Android phone to a smart speaker, for example, "I'm coming home, do you need me to stop by the store?" The message would then play out over the speaker.

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2. Smart speakers talk back

But now, you'll be able to talk back. On this Google Home Hub, you see a "Reply" button you can press to relay your response. You'll also be able to trigger a voice action.

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3. New stories to read aloud

When you don't have a book on hand to read to the kids, Google Assistant will read aloud a story. Google announced it will add 25 more of these books to its library.

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4. Automated wakeup routine

The next time your morning alarm wakes you, it could also read the news, turn on the lights and turn up the heat. A new section in the alarm settings lets you program these routines.

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4. Automated wakeup routine

You'll need to dig into some subsettings to get everything just the way you like it.

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4. Automated wakeup routine

Google selected the most-used actions that coincided with wakeup time, out of more than a million possibilities.

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5. Silence that phone

This next Google Assistant feature doesn't use your phone, but it does affect it. You can speak into any speaker in your home to turn your paired Pixel 3 to Do Not Disturb mode, using just your voice. That's great if you're already cocooned in bed and decide you want a deep sleep in.

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Not new, but cool: Start your engines

To get a jump start on the day, Google Assistant works with car partners to remote start the engine, temperature and lights. We tested out an action called Blue Link Agent for Hyundai.

Published:Caption:Photo:Angela Lang/CNET
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Not new, but cool: Start your engines

It was fun turning on this Hyundai Tucson from the house and hearing the engine purr.

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For even more on Google Home Hub and what Google Assistant can do for you, check out our Home Hub review and the complete list of Google Home commands (so far).

Published:Caption:Photo:Juan Garzon / CNET
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