Google Assistant – 10 Things you can do with it

Google Assistant

As promised, Google Assistant is available to all eligible devices in Australia. Google’s AI-powered Assistant was launched exclusively with the Google Pixel smartphones which in the month of March was made available to other devices as well running Android Marshmallow and Nougat OS.

In fact, several smartphones such as LG G6, Moto G5, Moto G5 Plus, Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus come preloaded with the Google Assistant.

Google started releasing the virtual assistant on non-Pixel devices first for users in the US last month. Currently, the rollout began in April for users in UK and Australia. This will be followed by Canada. Google is also planning to release it in the German language for users in Germany. However, Google has confirmed that Android Tablets will not be getting the Google Assistant.

So what is all about it? Google Assistant which is an upgraded and personalized version of Google Now, is far more advanced than Google Now, meaning it can do everything that Google Now can do plus way more. Unlike Google Now, Google Assistant is more intuitive and human-like, with whom you can have conversations that you can continue and further ask follow up questions.

You can think of it as a friend, one who wants to learn more about you, and is always sitting there silently, listening to you and answering both your intelligent and silly questions. This friend also happens to be intelligent, which is called powered by Artificial Intelligence in the tech world.

What can Google Assistant do for you?

Google Assistant
What can Google Assistant do for you?

1. Why not ask this Assistant ‘what you can do’?

Not yet familiar with things your Assistant is capable of doing, which include opening apps, setting a reminder, setting an alarm, translating language, playing music, play games, or tossing a coin among the plethora of things, then your friend will help you with that as well.

Use the voice command to ask the Assistant “What can you do”, and it will list all the major things that it is competent of doing.  Alternatively, you can tap the “What can you do” option, located under the “three vertical dots” at the top right corner of the Assistant home screen.

Google Assistant
Why not ask Google Assistant ‘what you can do’?

2. It Works with your Google Account

It works well with Google Account which shares all your information like flight details, your meetings and other important details. So it is important for you to pick the right Google Account for the best working of the Assistant.

When you open the Assistant for the first time, Google will ask you to select the account that you want to link with Assistant. Alternatively, or if by mistake you choose the wrong account, you can always change your account in the Account present under the “three vertical dots” in the top right corner of the Assistant home screen.

3. You can use it to browse photos

If you use Google Photos, then Google Assistant is of great help. That is because Google’s deep-learning Photos service can identify your images based on the subject. You can ask Google to show you images of your kid or pet and it will automatically bring up all your pet images saved in Google Photos. Also, you can set up your Assistant with the same account that is associated with Google photos.

4. Keep the “OK Google” voice command always on for the Assistant

If you were in good terms with Google Now, you might be aware of the always-on “Ok Google” feature. Else if you are a new to the “Assistant world”, you can use “Ok Google” command in it from any app, and even if your screen is off. That means you can launch Assistant from anywhere by just saying “Ok Google”, followed by your instruction.

To enable this feature, tap the “three vertical dots” at the top right corner of the Assistant home screen, followed by Settings. Scroll to ‘”OK Google detection“. Tap it and turn on the toggle for “Say OK Google any time“.

5. Use it to share anything on social media

Though the Google Now Tap on search works on Assistant also, it provides additional functionality to share scanned information via social media as well.

To do so, open any app and launch Google Assistant. When the Assistant launches, swipe up to scan the screen, which shows the result based on the relevant information. It then gives you an option to share it via social media platforms.

6. It can help take and share a screenshot

If you want to capture a screenshot, just tell Assistant to do that. Even if you don’t even have to tell Assistant, just launch the Google Assistant and swipe up to scan the screen, you will see an option at the bottom “Share Screenshot”, just press it and you will get options to share it.

Google Assistant- Screen shot
Google Assistant can help take and share a screenshot

7. You can add a location for easy navigation

To make it easy for your friend – the Assistant, to remember your locations for easy navigation, you should add them in the Assistant Settings. This benefits you more since you don’t have to inform the Assistant again and again when you need location-based help. You can add home and work locations in the Assistant settings. To do so, navigate to Assistant Settings under those three dots – personal info – then add the home and work locations.

8. Know your daily briefing from it

Google Assistant- My day
Know your daily briefing from Google Assistant

It is one of the most remarkable features of this tool is the daily briefing feature. It gives you a summary of your day  like your own personal assistant. Google has enabled the feature to work for simple greetings as well. All you have to do is say “OK Google” followed by “good morning“, you may also ask “What my day looks like?” to this tool. Whatever the question, the Assistant gives you a run-through of your day, which includes weather in your city, your calendar events, reminders for the day, the latest news and the traffic to your work location among other important things for the day. You can also change what should be included in your daily briefing by going into Setting, followed by My Day and enabling or disabling the options.

Also you can get news about a certain subject, or even listen to the news using this tool. It has this cool feature that allows you to listen to the news of the day or in other words, it helps you stay updated with the world events. However, for this feature to work you have to subscribe to news sources –that you like and trust, in the Assistant settings. To do so, go to Assistant settings, followed by News. In the News section, you can customize the channels and the order in which you want to listen to the news.

Finally, when you want to listen to the news, just say “What’s the news?” and Assistant will begin playing the news based on the sources you pre-selected.

Google Assistant News

9. You can ask it to call you by your nickname

Just like your friends or family members, who call you by your nickname, you can ask your new friend, Google Assistant, to call you by your nickname instead of the name given on your Google Profile.

To do so, just launch Google Assistant, and say “Call me M”.  From now onwards, Google Assistant will refer to you as M or the name you give to it. Alternatively, you can change the nickname from settings as well. To do so, go to Settings followed by Personal info, then Nickname option.

10. Also you can take a selfie using this tool

Your friend, Google Assistant also helps you with the imperative task of taking selfies and to take a selfie, launch the Google Assistant followed by “take a selfie” command. This will launch the camera, so be ready with that nice smile of yours. However, you would have to press the capture button yourself.

Besides these wonderful tasks Google Assistant helps you remember important things for you, or create shopping lists  and many other simple tasks too.

If you do not like Google Assistant hovering all the time or it distracts you in any way you can also disable it if you want. To do so, go to Assistant settings, and turn off the toggle for “Give Assistant permission to answer questions and get things done.”

Note that Google has clearly stated that the Google Assistant will not be making its way to the Android tablets even if they are running the latest compatible OS.

Also as an Aussie user, you must know that you don’t need to download the Google Assistant specifically as an app or something from somewhere. The Google Play Services will do the job for you as it gets updated automatically in the background. You will wake up one fine day to find Google Assistant already running on your phone and that should happen really soon.

You will find Google has been working on the Assistant to bring several improvements to make the assistant even more helpful and faster. The screening search was recently moved to a button, Hyundai cars can be controlled using the Assistant, several new features added to Google Home, and the list is endless. So why not give it try with this friendly and helpful assistant.

Kamal Kaur

Kamal writes about new apps and user ratings. She joined us from India. She's also written for other tech blogs and forums before joining Pokies for Android. Kamal's real passion is nature and animals. She also writes poetry. Still waiting for her to write us a poem about Google Technology or Android devices.

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