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Google is beginning to roll Google Assistant out to more smartphones. Unfortunately, the majority of Android handsets are not included in this initial rollout. However, seeing as Google Assistant was previously only available on the Google Pixel, this is still a vast improvement.
Apple has Siri, Microsoft has Cortana, and Amazon has Alexa. Judging by the popularity of these three entities, personal assistants powered by artificial intelligence are clearly all the rage. However, Google has been rather slow to capitalize on this trend.
Google Now is, well, OK, Google, but it lacks that human element which makes the aforementioned stand out. Which is why Google introduced Google Assistant. Originally released on the Google Pixel, Google Assistant is now venturing out into the wider world.
Is Your Android Eligible?
Starting this week, Google will roll Google Assistant out to millions of smartphones via an update to Google Play Services. Google’s ultimate goal is to “make the Assistant available anywhere you need it,” and it’s starting with smartphones running Android 6.0 or Android 7.0.
English-speaking users in the U.S. will get Google Assistant first. Followed by English-speaking users in Australia, Canada, and the U.K., and German speakers in Germany. Google is promising to add support for more languages besides English and German over the next 12 months.
This update means Google Assistant will now be made available to millions more users. However, even Google admits only around 30 percent of Android handsets currently run Marshmallow or Nougat. Which means the vast majority of users aren’t being invited to the party just yet.
As well as rolling Google Assistant out to eligible smartphones already out in the wild, Google is making it a default app on new Android handsets such as the LG G6. But it looks very unlikely Google Assistant will ever come to Android handsets running Lollipop or KitKat.
A Conversational User Interface
For the uninitiated, Google Assistant essentially replaces Google Now, and you access it in the exact same way (by saying “OK, Google” or by long-pressing the Home button). However, Google Assistant features a conversational user interface which makes it more friendly to interact with. As you’ll probably soon find out.
Is your smartphone getting Google Assistant? Are you excited at the prospect of trying Google’s new AI? Or are you annoyed at being left out? If you already have Google Assistant, how does it compare to Siri, Cortana, or Alexa? Please let us know in the comments below!
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