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Google’s handy Ambient Mode is now rolling out to smartphones − here’s what it does

Google has announced that Ambient Mode is now rolling out to Android smartphones. It’s a clever bit of functionality that’s tailored to you, and designed to make your device’s lock screen a little bit more useful and informative. Or, failing that, just plain pretty.

Ambient Mode relies on Google Assistant, and it turns itself on when your handset is being charged, essentially transforming it into a smart display.

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Google announced the functionality back in September:

“Google Assistant’s Ambient Mode is a new visual overview that makes it easier to see notifications and reminders, start a playlist and control smart home devices on the lockscreen of your device. When you’re done, your screen will turn into a personal digital photo frame linked to your Google Photos account to add another personal touch.”

Unfortunately, the search giant is yet to reveal a list of phones that Ambient Mode is destined to come to, but the company has said that it will only be available on “select devices” running Android Oreo and above.

Ars Technica’s Ron Amadeo reports that the rollout has already started, and that the feature will be hitting Sony, Nokia and Xiaomi devices.

“The ultimate goal for proactive Assistant is to help you get things done faster, anticipate your needs, and accomplish your tasks as quickly and as easily as possible,” explained Arvind Chandrababu, Google Assistant’s product manager.

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“It’s fundamentally about moving from an app-based way of doing things to an intent-based way of doing things.

“Now you can with one tap set your alarm, you can look at what time your first meeting is the next day, you can turn off the light, and you can also have a slideshow of your personal memories show up so that you can actually browse all of them.”

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