Google has finally started the process of making its smarter AI assistant available to a whole lot more users, beginning in the US this week, to be followed closely by the UK.
While Google Assistant, essentially an evolution of the Google Now voice command options, first launched in May last year, it was restricted to Google Pixel handsets and a few other select devices, like Google Home (which isn’t yet available in the UK) and Google Wear smartwatches. A scaled back version of Google Assistant has also been available via the Google Allo app. Now, the app’s going to start rolling out to other Marshmallow and Nougat-based devices.
As tends to be the case with these things, it’s rolling out to users with those devices in the US first, and then will then head out to handsets in Australia, Canada and the UK. It’s worth noting that it’s only rolling out to devices set with English as the default language; you also need to have the most recent version of Google Play Services installed.
As with Google Now, you can activate it by saying ‘OK, Google’ and then follow with a command or question and you’ll get results from the Web or info drawn from your own specific services. For example, you might say ‘Show me my photos of sunsets’, and it’ll return results from your Google Photos account. You can also use it to control some connected-home objects too, as well as using it for general Web searches.
The timing of Google’s announcement is no coincidence either, with Mobile World Congress announcements just getting underway in Barcelona this year. One of the first non-Pixel devices to get Google Assistant pre-installed is the freshly-launched LG G6.
Google Assistant rolling out to more Android devices is just the beginning of an increased focused on its importance to Google as a control mechanism. It might only be on phones and smartwatches for now, but Google’s already announced that it’ll be coming to cars and TVs in the near future too.
Watch: MWC 2017
Been jonesing to try Google Assistant? Think AI assistants are useless? Let us know in the comments below!