A new Xbox One update last November 14 now allows voice-activated commands using Google Assistant.
(Photo : Microsoft)

Xbox One users who have been using the Alexa feature now has another digital assistant for their console, the Google Assistant.

A November 14 update for the Xbox One added the Google Assistant feature to the console, allowing users to say "Okay, Google" followed by various commands. For now, the feature only comes in English. Other supported languages for the Google Assistant will come soon, says Microsoft.

Hands-free Control

The Xbox One has had voice control for a long time already, with Microsoft's Cortana quietly operating on the system under fans' noses. Microsoft also added Alexa features on the console about a year ago, thanks to the growing popularity of smart devices. 

However, Microsoft would later remove the Xbox One's native support, making the Cortana app for iOS and Android a requirement for its use. Microsoft also treated Alexa the same way, requiring you to have the Xbox skill enabled on your Alexa app.

The brand new feature that comes with this update also has a similar set-up. Using the Google Home app on your Android or iOS device, you could now pair your Xbox One using it. You can now use your smartphone to issue commands to your Xbox One using the Google Home app.

Aside from "Okay, Google," you could use Google Assistant for a variety of commands, like turning the console on and off, boot up a game, and even control video playback. However, the Google Assistant isn't as versatile as the other two digital assistants available for the Xbox One. 

More control options may find their way to Xbox One's Google Assistant eventually. But at its current state, users could find more use with their Cortana and Alexa assistants. If you have those two available, you already could do what the Google Assistant can, and even more. Still, for those without Cortana or Alexa, Google Assistant is a welcome addition.

Improved Gamertag

The new update also introduces a great way for gamers to express themselves. Unlike before, you can't choose a gamertag just because it's already been used by others, now you can pick any name you want.

You could keep your gamertag as it is right now, but the first gamertag name change you make will not be charged to your account. However, any subsequent change will cost you $9.99.

To differentiate you from other players with the same gamertag, you will have a suffix placed after your name. This suffix, composed of 3 to 5 digits unique to every player, will appear everywhere except in friends lists. If your gamertag is unique, or if you're the first to pick that gamertag, your name will not have a suffix.

Another change introduced is the ability to use 13 different alphabets for your characters, supporting over 200 languages. This adds to the uniqueness of gamertags, which make you less likely to have suffixes affixed to your name.

Other Changes

The new update also introduces a message filter, which now lets you choose how your console delivers profanities and explicit. The option is accessible in Settings > General > Online safety & family > Privacy & online safety, under Message Safety. The new, simplified settings UI that comes with the new update should help you find this option easily.

Your Mixer chat can now be placed to the left or right side of the screen, or choose to hide it altogether.

Finally, voice-to-text dictation has been improved to include more languages. This can be accessed through Settings > System > Language & location.

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