Google Assistant is a digital assistant that the Mountain View company has developed on its own and presented for the first time at Google I/O 2016. Compared to Google Now, whose inheritance it actually collects, Google Assistant can enter into real conversations with the user using the natural language.
Compared to the version intended for the U.S. market, Google Assistant in Italian is even poorer in terms of functionality and less skilled in the automatic recognition of voice requests made by users. However, we have made further progress in the last period.
How to Use Google Assistant on Your Android Device
Google Assistant is not installed manually but arrives on your mobile device by updating Google Play Services and having installed the Google app.
In order to use the Google Assistant, you must have a device updated to at least Android 5.0 (or later versions of the Android operating system) with Google Play Services and the Google app (version 6.13 or later) downloaded from the Play Store correctly installed and updated. Among the minimum requirements Google also indicates the use of a smartphone with at least 1 GB of free memory.
How to Enable Or Disable Google Assistant
Saying Ok Google out loud, the appearance of a screen identical to the one in the figure, is a symptom of the installation of the Google Assistant on your phone.
Alternatively, the Google Assistant can also be activated by pressing and holding the Home button on your smartphone for a few seconds.
We suggest that you pronounce Ok Google so what do you know how to do? to have some tips on the questions that you can ask the Google Assistant.
If you want to disable Google Assistant, just go to the Android settings, tap Google Voice, choose Search, Assistant and Voice functions and then select Google Assistant.
Here you have to select Phone under Assistant Devices and disable the Google Assistant “switch”.
What To Do if Google Assistant Does Not Speak
When the Google Assistant does not speak, the problem is generally due to the audio volume for multimedia content being too low.
To fix this, simply go to your Android settings, tap Sounds and Vibrate and then increase the volume of your media.
In the Google section, Search, Voice Assistant and Voice Features, Voice, Voice Match, it is important to make sure that the Sign in with Voice Match option is enabled.
Other possible actions include uninstalling apps that make direct changes to the sound, deactivating the NuPlayer option in the Developer Options (Media section), accessing the Google section of Android settings, tapping Google then Search, assistant and voice functions, then Voice, and finally setting Voice results to On.
By choosing, from the Android settings, the Google voices, Search, assistant and voice functions, Voice, Voice recognition offline, it is important to check that English is set as the default recognition language and that it is correctly set for voice recognition offline (in this way Google Assistant can respond even in the absence of a network connection).
If after installing an update using the commands of the Google Assistant this does not respond to requests, we suggest you choose Apps and notifications in the Android settings, select Google, tap Storage then Clear Cache and restart the phone.
Google Assistant: What You Can Ask for
Google Assistant has been developed in such a way that it knows how to remember what has been requested previously, the user’s appointments, his work deadlines and so on.
The skills of the Google Assistant, in Italian, have increased considerably since its debut (November 2017).
The most useful features of the Google Assistant are those that allow you to interact with your smartphone hands free. They can all be activated by pronouncing Ok Google aloud then using the following expressions:
1) Navigate to (place)
Allows you to set the navigation to the desired place and get turn-by-turn directions, regardless of the means of transport used.
2) Send WhatsApp message to (recipient name) with text (message text)
Instead of WhatsApp, you can of course say Telegram or the name of any other app that handles instant messaging.
3) Send SMS to (recipient name)
4) Send email to (recipient name) with text (message text)
5) Call (name of contact)
6) Let me hear (music track and/or group name or genre)
By accessing the settings you can decide which application to use to search for music and play it automatically (for example, YouTube, Google Play Music, Spotify, Deezer,…).
You can change your preferences by going to the Android settings, tapping Google, Search, Wizard and voice functions and then Google Assistant and referring to the Services tab.
7) Dim the lights or set the thermostat to 20 degrees.
With the latest updates, the Google Assistant is able to manage the devices for the previous smart home paired with the system.
To see which smart devices have already been added, simply go to your Android settings, choose Search, Wizard and Voice Features, Google Assistant, tap the Wizard tab and select Home Control.
You can find a series of tips on devices to choose from for your smart home in our article Smart home: some devices to remotely manage your home or even the office.
8) Find the best restaurant nearby
9) Find a pizzeria/restaurant/traditional house/pub/bar/ bancomat/cinema nearby.
You can make more complex requests such as finding a nearby Chinese/Japanese restaurant.
10) Find nearby points of interest/attractions
11) As they say (word to be translated) in (language of interest)
12) My events/appointments (today/days/Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday…)
Google Assistant will check appointments or events saved in the calendar or entered as reminders.
13) Reminder for the (hours) (text of the reminder)
Google Assistant will set a reminder for the time indicated today (example: 15.30) with the text spoken verbally. At the set deadline, the phone will vibrate, ring and display a notification with the saved reminder text.
By tapping View all reminders or by saying Show me reminders, the Google Assistant will display all previously saved notes, including any notes saved in the Google Keep app.
14) Add (product name) to the shopping list
15) At what time does the sun rise or fall (today/taser/doman/date…)
16) What time is it at (location, country)?
17) Launch (name of the Android app)
18) Enable/disable WiFi
19) Turn on the torch or turn off the torch
Less useful but certainly nice are the answers that Google Assistant can provide in response to:
- sing me a song;
- throw a coin;
- let’s play a game;
- tell me a joke.;
- give me a riddle;
- tell me an interesting anecdote;
- tell me a proverb;
- surprise me.
According to the Waze development team, Google’s own navigator, it will soon be possible to interact with complex requests, in voice mode, even with this application. After starting Waze, just say the magic word “Ok Waze”.
While driving we suggest to use Android Auto: if you don’t have a compatible infotainment system, you can still use the dedicated app on your smartphone (see Android Auto: what it is and how it works).
Android Auto will allow the voice assistant to read all incoming messages (including those managed with WhatsApp, Telegram and Facebook Messenger) with the ability to respond in text mode, after voice recognition, without ever getting on the phone.
What are Google Assistant Routines And How They Work?
Using the single commands presented above, you can make ad hoc requests.
By going to the Android settings, selecting Google, Search, assistant and voice functions, then Google Assistant, the Assistant tab and finally Routine, you can set up operations that must be carried out with a single voice command.
For example, pronouncing the word Good Morning you can make Google turn off the silent mode on your phone, adjust lights and temperatures, provide weather information and take stock of daily commitments, the latest news, play some music and so on, all with a single command.
Similar, freely customizable operations can be set when you go to sleep (e.g. saying Goodnight or I’m going to bed) or on the way home or to work.
Manage and Delete The History Of Your Activities With The Google Assistant
Please note that by visiting this page after logging in with your account you can check the history of searches, including those carried out in voice mode through the Google Assistant.
Clicking on Delete activity to completely remove the history stored on Google’s servers but the Assistant will no longer be aware of your preferences and will respond in a less relevant manner.
We also suggest reading the in-depth article How to see Google history and verify sites visited in the past.
Finally, the digital assistant “living room” Google Home allows you to perform some additional operations (Google Home and Google Home Mini available in Italy from 59 euros) and to activate the mode of continuous conversation: Continuous conversation with the Google Assistant: what it is and how it works.
Nice project that allows you to deafen the Google Assistant when you do not have to listen to private dialogues: Google Home and Amazon Alexa nosy? Project Alias makes them deaf when they are not useful.