5 things you need to know about Google Assistant
Google’s voice-controlled virtual assistant is ready to help you out at a moment’s notice. Find out how to get it, and what it can do for you…
1. What exactly is Google Assistant?
Google Assistant is Google’s smart assistant. It launched in May 2016, as an exclusive feature on Google’s Pixel phones. Since then it’s spread far and wide, and now works on over 5,000 devices.
If you’ve got an Android phone running Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or later, it’ll have Google Assistant on it. You can also get it on iPhones, iPads, Chromebooks, Android Wear devices, and other smart products like speakers, headphones and TVs.
Think of Google Assistant as your very own, very keen, personal helper. It’s at your service in a moment’s notice – all you have to do is ask.
Google Assistant has been designed to have actual conversations with you, and to help you complete tasks. To do this, it uses Google’s vast amount of internet search expertise, along with the company’s latest innovations in voice recognition and artificial intelligence.
2. How does it work?
It’s easy to use Google Assistant. Firstly, check that it’s set up on your device as follows:
- If you’ve got an Android device, open the Google app. Go to the menu, then ‘Settings’. Under ‘Google Assistant’, tap ‘Settings’ and then ‘Turn on’.
- If you’ve got an iPhone or iPad, you just need to download the free Google Assistant app from The App Store and follow the set-up prompts.
- All set up? Good. To activate Google Assistant, simply say "Ok Google", or touch and hold the home button on your phone. You can then ask a question or issue a command. It really is as simple as that.
3. What can you ask Google Assistant to do?
Because Google Assistant is powered by the vast knowledge of Google, there’s not much it doesn’t know. Here are just a few examples of what you can ask it to do:
- Translate words and sentences into over 100 languages.
- Reserve a table at your favourite restaurant.
- Check movie times at your local cinema.
- Tune an instrument (it’ll give you a specific note if you ask for it).
- Get a reminder to do something on a certain date. Buying a birthday present, for example.
Google Assistant is great at understanding follow-up questions. For example, if you were to ask: “Which currency would I use in Peru?” you could then say “…and what’s the population of the capital city?” without mentioning Peru again. Google Assistant will know which country you’re referring to, and give you the answer.
4. Is Google Assistant on any other products?
Google Assistant isn’t just available on mobile devices. It can also be used to control a wide range of other products.
There are currently more than 1500 smart home devices that Google Assistant is compatible with. You just need to set them up on the Google Home app, and you’ll then be able to control them with your voice.
If you have compatible products, you can:
- Turn your lights on and off
- Control your heating
- Open smart locks
- Get an alert that your washing’s finished
…and lots more is possible too.
Google also has its own range of smart speakers with Google Assistant built-in. If you’ve got a Google Home or Google Home Mini, you’ll be able to ask them absolutely anything. They’re great for playing music on too, of course.
You’ll also find Google Assistant on Android TVs, Chromebooks, wireless headphones and lots of Android Wear devices. The list grows daily.
5. What will Google Assistant be able to do in the future?
At Google’s recent annual developer’s conference (8-10 May 2018) some exciting new Google Assistant features were revealed.
In the near future, you won’t even have to say ‘Ok Google’ every time you want to speak to Google Assistant. It’ll also be able to perform multiple tasks from a single voice command. So for example, you could say “Okay Google, I’m home”, and with the right settings Google Assistant will open your smart lock, turn the lights on and start playing your favourite music.
Google Assistant will also be able to make actual phone calls for you, thanks to an incredible piece of new technology known as Duplex. During a live demo, Duplex was able to phone a hair salon, speak to a real person, and book and appointment.
Your next car may well have Google Assistant on board. It’ll be part of the Android Auto infotainment system, built directly into new models from big name car manufacturers like Audi, Volkswagen and Volvo.
Want to experience Google Assistant in all its different ways? See our range of Google products