Google Assistant is coming to LG’s ThinQ TV in seven more countries

LG’s 2018 lineup of AI-enabled ThinQ TVs are getting Google Assistant functionality in many of its international markets. Starting today, Google Assistant will be available in Canada, Australia, and the UK, with support coming to South Korea, Spain, France, and Germany by the end of the year.

LG’s ThinQ TVs came with integrated Google Assistant when they launched in the US and added support for Alexa commands soon after. The built-in ThinQ AI, which runs on LG’s own WebOS can be used for TV-specific commands, such as “search for the soundtrack of this movie,” while Google Assistant and Alexa can be used as a smart home hub. You can basically use the TV the same way you’d use your Google Home by speaking commands into the mic on your remote.

LG is also planning on bringing Amazon Alexa support to Australia and Canada in the future, but no time is specified yet.

LG’s new neckbuds have a button for Google Assistant and Translate

Ahead of this month’s IFA show in Berlin, LG has announced a pair of neckbud products that come with Google Assistant support. Like LG’s G7 phone, the Tone Platinum SE earbuds have a dedicated button that can be used to invoke the Assistant without the “OK Google” voice command. The Tone Ultra SE is the same thing, but with a mono speaker as well as the earbuds so you can listen to audio without blocking out your surroundings.

LG thinks the Assistant button will be particularly useful when using features such as Google Translate, and it’s true that having to say “OK Google” all the time would be even weirder in the middle of a conversation in a language that you don’t speak. But this idea wasn’t particularly natural when Google tried its own spin on it with the Pixel Buds, and it’s hard to imagine it not being more comfortable for everyone involved if you’d just use your phone instead.

Still, if we’re ever going to get to the babel fish from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, awkward neckbuds are probably a necessary step along the way. No pricing or release date info for these LG Tone products yet, but presumably that’ll come at IFA.