Someday we’ll all be floating in our hover rocking chairs on our virtual porches, telling our genetically engineered grandchildren about the days when we had to actually use our hands to control computers and devices. They’ll stare in dull amazement through the advertisements hovering inches in front of their faces as we recount the days of remote controls, hardware buttons, and keyboards. “Really, grandpa?” they’ll ask when we tell them that before AI took over, we had to actually choose which video to watch ourselves. If all of this sounds like sci-fi hyperbole, think again: this week, Google Assistant unveiled new features allowing you to control your Roku devices all from your corporate-controlled AI assistant. So long, free will.
Roku devices can now be added as Home control services in Assistant or the Google Home app, meaning Google’s voice-controlled assistant can now run your streaming video player hands-free. All Roku devices running Roku OS 8.1 or higher are compatible. The following models are supported:
- All Roku TV models
- Roku Express (3700X, 3900X)
- Roku Express+ (3710X, 3910X)
- Roku Streaming Stick (3600X, 3800X)
- Roku Streaming Stick+ (3810X)
- Roku 2 (4210X)
- Roku 3 (4200X, 4230X)
- Roku 4 (4400X)
- Roku Premiere (3920X,4620X)
- Roku Premiere+ (3921X,4630X)
- Roku Ultra (4640X, 4660X, 4661X)
For now, Android Police report, these new features only support American English and cannot yet support Netflix content. Still, for the other ocean of content available to stream on Roku, this new method of control will surely delight Google Assistant users. Using the “Hey Google” command, users can instruct their Roku to launch specific channels or find certain types of content, play/pause/stop video, raise or lower volume, and even make hardware changes like switching between surround sound modes or HDMI ports.
Each time a new device adds voice support, it’s one more hint that we’ll soon operate in a world where we converse with our technology rather than operate it with our crude ape-like hands like some sort of cavemen. Where were you when the machines started talking back?