Fans and users of Google's digital assistant have another way to safely bring that technology on the road with the announcement of the JBL Link Drive.
Google Assistant has found its way into vehicles via a few vectors -- primarily Android Auto, smartphones running Google Maps and now this new generation of Google Assistant devices that basically bring the Google Home experience into the cockpit.
The JBL Link Drive looks like a slightly enlarged smartphone car charger. It plugs directly into your car's 12-volt power point and boasts a 2.4-amp USB charging port. But the business end of the device has a noise-canceling microphone that's always listening for the "Hey Google" hot word to trigger Google Assistant on a connected phone.
Bluetooth connects the Drive to your phone and your car to make use of the car's speakers. This means that you can leave your phone in your pocket and still be able to say, "Hey Google, remind me to buy eggs" or, "Text my mom, I'll be late for dinner." Of course, you can still also mount your phone to the dashboard and call up Google Maps with a voice command.
There's also a multifunction key on the Drive's face that can be tapped to manually trigger Google Assistant without saying "OK Google" or long pressed to mute the microphone. There's also the same four RGB LED indicators you'd find on a Google Home to indicate when the Drive is listening, thinking or muted.
The JBL Link Drive will be available from this spring for $60.
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