Google Assistant is getting a feature those of us who have been using it have always wanted: the ability to type requests into the digital assistant.
At the moment, Assistant can only receive requests from users by voice. It listens as you speak to it and then processes and responds.
This is a departure from what we had gotten used to on Google Now where we had a choice of either using voice or just typing away.
Google Assistant already runs on over 100 million devices.
Other updates to Google Assistant
The rolling out of the feature seems timely as the personal digital assistant is getting a makeover that includes a new launcher and the ability to make direct product purchases without having to redirect a user to a third-party website since Google is integrating it with its own payments processing system.
“Starting today, you can also type to your Google Assistant on phones,” writes Scott Huffman, Google’s senior vice president incharge of Google Assistant, in a blog post.
Soon, as well, users will be able to easily view their past conversations with Assistant. At the moment, things are a bit messy.
Google Assistant plugs into Google’s new app, Google Lens. Google Lens is a new Google product that works through a smartphone’s camera pretty much the way Samsung’s digital assistant, the non-starter Bixby, does. It processes all details that a phone’s camera can see and makes sense of them i.e. like telling you what object you are viewing through your device’s camera viewfinder and so on. On Google Assistant, users will get a button inside Assistant which when clicked fires up Lens and let the clever assistant process the data it contains.
Android TV, Google’s television platform based off its flagship mobile platform, will soon support Google Assistant, Google announced at I/O 2017. The company did not provide an exact timeline as to when this will happen.
Google Assistant is also available in five other languages besides English: Brazilian, French, German, Japanese and Portuguese. Later in the year, support for Spanish and Japanese will be added. This will expand Assistant’s presence.
Additionally, iPhone users will also be able to join in the fun since Google Assistant is now available on iOS.