google, google assistant

Google’s exclusive bet on the conversational AI front has inadvertently crossed Pixel borders before one might have expected. Earlier in the day, the tech giant rolled out an alpha version (v6.13) of the Google app on the beta channel. And a feature – Google Assistant – which should not have been there in the first place has appeared on non-Pixel smartphones. And this gives us a reason to celebrate.

This surprising development was initially spotted by Android Police during a detailed teardown of the Google app. And this has further been corroborated by several users who’ve sideloaded the app on their phones. But, the availability of this uber-smart voice assistant is varying on the basis of devices — with no fixed visible pattern.

The Google Assistant has become accessible on devices ranging from Nexus 6P, Samsung Galaxy Note 5 to the Alcatel Idol 4. This has most likely been rolled out in an error, as the settings page in the Google app is recognizing these devices as Google’s own-brand Pixel lineup. The said version is completely full of bugs and faces frequent crashes. The Google news feed also doesn’t seem to be loading properly, causing it to force stop.

To access Google Assistant, you will still need to follow the same instructions which you would to access Google Now. After installing (if the said alpha version is still available on the Play Store) or side-loading Google app v6.13, press and hold the home button to invoke the Google Assistant instead of Google Now on Tap.

Since you will be accessing Google Assistant for the first time on your device, a dialog with this greeting message “New! You just got the Google Assistant.” will pop-up on your screen. You can then begin the usual voice training process to set up the assistant. The complete settings for Google Assistant have also been included in this version, along with tutorials of what all it can do for you. Now, every time you hold the home button, the new “Hi, how can I help?” prompt will appear on your device.

Another new feature which has surfaced in this version of the Google app is Recent. This feature enables you to scroll through and recap the searches you’ve recently conducted. This opens in the form of a layover menu, which includes a car-like horizontal scrollable timeline. The timeline is currently loading in this update but doesn’t appear to be scrollable. Google also seems to be condensing the weather card, while still providing the same information.

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