While Apple’s Siri started the mobile voice assistant craze, it’s easy to argue that Google Assistant has surpassed it. Combining a natural speaking format with the power of Google, using Assistant is one of the best perks of Android.
In this article, we’ll show you everything you need to know about Google Assistant, what it can do, and how to use it.
What Is Google Assistant?
Google Assistant is Google’s virtual assistant. It’s an evolution of Android feature known as Google Now, which provided you information without you even asking. It competes with Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana.
Assistant launched in May 2016 as part of Google’s smart messaging app Allo. Shortly after, Assistant made the jump to Google’s Pixel phones. It was only available on the Pixel line for a while, but it’s now free to download for anyone using Android 5 Lollipop or above.
In addition to Android Wear support, there’s an Assistant app for iOS. And the Google Home line of smart speakers is powered by Google Assistant too.
Do I Have Google Assistant?
If you’re using an Android device, you can summon Google Assistant by pressing and holding the Home button. Should you see Assistant appear, then it’s already built into your phone and ready to go. If you have it built-in but disabled it, you’ll see a prompt to enable it when you hold Home.
Some Android devices require the standalone Google Assistant app. Check to see if you have that installed if you didn’t see Assistant when you held Home.
On iOS, you can access Google Assistant if you have the Google Assistant app installed. And for Google Home devices, Google Assistant is built in.
How to Get Google Assistant
Went through the above steps and found that you don’t have Google Assistant installed? Here’s how to get Google Assistant on your device.
Android users: Download the Google Assistant app from the Play Store. For it to work, you must update the standard Google app on your device too.
You must have a phone with Android 5 Lollipop or higher, or Android 6 Marshmallow or higher on tablets. Additionally, your device must have at least 1.4GB of memory and a 720p screen. Note that you don’t need this app if Google Assistant is built into your device.
iPhone users: Download the Google Assistant app from the App Store. It requires iOS 9.1 or newer, which should be no problem for most users.
How to Use Google Assistant
To call up Google Assistant on compatible Android phones, press and hold the Home button or say OK Google. With some phones, you can also say Hey Google. On an iPhone or iPad, you’ll need to open the Google Assistant app and either say OK Google or tap the microphone icon.
If you don’t want to use your voice, you can also type out a question. Touch the keyboard button to enter text into Google Assistant. It will respond just as if you were talking.
What’s cool is that Google Assistant understands context quite well. For example, if you ask When was Denzel Washington born? and then say What movies is he known for?, Google knows you mean Washington when you say “he.”
Once you’ve pulled up Google Assistant, you can ask it anything you’d like. Assistant can interact with lots of apps and services, and it will pull up Google results if it can’t help with your question.
What Can Google Assistant Do?
Some of the most popular questions you can ask Google Assistant:
- How’s the weather?
- Find sushi restaurants near me.
- Navigate home.
- Call Sam.
- Text Jim “I’ll be there in an hour.”
- Wake me up at 8am.
- Remind me to clean the bathroom when I get home.
- Play some country music.
- Did the Giants win their last game?
- Define “vivacious.”
- How do I say “You’re beautiful” in Japanese?
- Decrease the brightness.
- How old is Gal Godot?
- Open Telegram.
- Let’s play a game.
How to Set Up Google Assistant for Efficiency
Google Assistant doesn’t require any real setup to start working. But you can tweak a few options to make it work to your liking.
Open the Google app, then tap the three-bar Menu button. Select Settings, then tap Settings again under the Google Assistant header. From here, you can modify several settings. Here are a few important ones:
- Personal Info: Add home and work address for traffic alerts. You can also use the Nickname settings to change what Assistant calls you or change how it pronounces your name.
- Voice Match: Teach your Assistant your voice so it responds to you more reliably.
- Music: Set your preferred music provider.
- Routines: Allows you to set up groups of commands that run at once.
- Shortcuts: Create custom commands for various tasks.
How to Turn Off Google Assistant
You can disable Google Assistant if you never use the feature or are concerned about Google listening.
Open the Google app, then tap the three-bar Menu button. Choose Settings, then look for the Google Assistant header. Tap Settings under this header. On the resulting page, tap the name of your device under Devices. Disable the Google Assistant slider to turn the feature off.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll see a prompt to turn Google Assistant back on if you hold the Home button. You can also follow these steps to turn the feature back on. If you tap Settings under Google Assistant, your phone will ask if you want to use it again.
Ready to Work With Google Assistant?
We’ve taken a look at some of the most popular questions about Google Assistant. Now you know what it does, whether you have it, and how to use it. Voice commands are super useful, so you’re in for a treat if you haven’t used Assistant yet.
To go further, try expanding Google Assistant with IFTTT applets.