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Google Assistant gets a silent mode to quieten your phone’s inner voice

Google is now allowing users to fix the Assistant a nice tall glass of shut-up juice. Yes, believe it or not, Google is adding a silent option to its voice-powered personal assistant that’ll keep it shtum and enable you to only see the text output.

The option, which will be better for use in quieter environments, has shown up on a Google Assistant support page and has been spied by Android Police.

In order to enable it, you’ll need to open the open the Assistant and select the Explore icon. From here you can enter the settings and browse to “Voice and Speech” under the Assistant tab.

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Now you’ll be able to switch the speech output to hands-free only, meaning you’ll only hear the Assistant pipe-up if you’re wearing headphones or a Bluetooth headset. From here you’ll see the Assistant’s responses on screen, but they won’t be spoken out loud.

On the support page, the company writes: “When you turn off Speech Output, your Google Assistant will show you responses on your phone, but it won’t say them out loud. If you want to stop your Google Assistant from replying with sound, you can change your settings.”

It’s not a huge change to the Assistant, but it could potentially save some embarrassment when you’re asking a mundane question in public and the AI tool barks out the incredibly simple answer.

It’s not the only change to Google Assistant this month. Arguably the bigger change was opening up to a number of third-party messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram and Slack. 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.

Assistant users will see a card with the newest messages, which are read aloud (as long as silent mode isn’t available), along with the app it derived from and the sender. The card itself also contains a little icon showing the app.

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