About Kodi 18, the team made it very clear when it officially announced that Kodi 17.6 would be the last release in the “Krypton” series. Those decisions are slowly starting to be realized with the release of the Kodi 18 Leia alpha build for Android TV starting being available on other platforms for a while. The same Android TV Kodi version has been shown to also include Google Assistant-based voice search.
The Kodi team in the recent years is more happy to aggressively expand the platform and its capabilities by bringing in much-requested features. And it continues to show off.
The team has also announced the next version of their Kodi media center, version 18, will be named after the immortal Carrie Fisher, or at least one of her favorite portrayals the Princess Leia. This update – still in Alpha build – brings 2 important Android TV features: Suggested Recommendations and Voice search.
With Recommendations now being enabled when you start Android TV. You will now see content recommendations from your personal library on to top row alongside content from others services like YouTube, Google Play Movies, and Netflix. Kodi Recommendations will show up both “Random movies” as well as the next episodes of TV shows you’re been dining.
Voice search is where the real experience is. Now, it has been confirmed that Google Assistant support has been added to the din, which the local media just got a little smarter. Using the voice search on Android TV when you search for a Movie, TV show or Music content from your Kodi library will be surfaced in the main Android TV search interface. Search for The Last Jedi, and it will be surfaced right along offerings from other services, one click and you’re ready to play.
Obviously, the distribution team can’t just bow down to the pressure applied by the masses and does need to integrate functionality, which either way makes sense and which will appeal to the most users. That’s why it makes perfect sense that voice search is now offered via Google Assistant in the latest Kodi 18 alpha for Android TV hardware.
In fact, if a compatible Android TV device actually supports voice functionality then this is where the support for Google Assistant comes into its own. Users making use of it very much to search all the TV content or a song or album using nothing but the power of speech. Once the searched item is found, then it will be displayed in the standard Android TV results interface alongside other recommendations, which is also a new feature of Kodi 18 in this latest alpha release.
So owners of Android TV will also likely be able to find additional snippets of functionality improvements as they interact more with Kodi 18 alpha, but, for now, voice search and suggested recommendations appear to be the two big inclusions.
Those who wish to download the latest alpha APK in order to try out the new voice features on compatible Android TV hardware can simply do right now from kodi.tv/download.
Note: It’s likely a while before offerings such as LibreELEC or Kodibuntu are updated to bring this version.
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