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Google Assistant just got far more useful as a messaging tool

Google has finally opened the door to third-party messaging tools, making it possible for Assistant to read and reply to incoming messages from a number of popular apps.

Until now the functionality has been limited to Google’s stock Messages app and the malingering Hangouts platform, but now it’s now compatible with WhatsApp, Telegram and Slack.

According to an Android Police tipster, uttering the command “Hey Google, read my messages,” will now consult the inboxes of the third-party apps and even allow you to respond using the voice commands.

The user will first have to allow the Google app notification access for this to work, but after that you’re good to go. The full list of compatible apps is unknown at the moment, but it appears as if most of the major players are involved.

Related: Best Android phones

Google Assistant

Image credit: Android Police

From there, Assistant users will see a card with the newest messages, which are read aloud, along with the app it derived from and the sender. The card itself also contains a little icon showing the app. Currently the app is unable to play back audio attachments, but it will tell the user if there is one.

It’s not clear whether Google will has officially rolled out the feature to all Google Assistant users yet, but it seems the feature is pretty widely available at the time of writing. We may hear more about this when Google unveils the completed version of Android Q, which is due in the next few weeks.

Apple is also adding a new Announce Messages feature with Siri in iOS 13 which will read out an incoming message and transcribe the reply. Announce Messages is compatible with the second-gen AirPods and PowerBeats Pro, which have the new H1 chip. That means the phone can remain stowed in the pocket. Your move, Google.

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