Google Assistant's first generative AI feature could summarize long articles

How to use Google Asssitant to find Tile Bluetooth trackers.
(Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • The latest Google app beta release contains hints about an upcoming generative AI feature for Google Assistant.
  • This capability will allow Google's voice assistant to create a summary of a web page while browsing through Chrome or when a Custom Tab webpage is launched.
  • It is currently not operational, with Assistant displaying an error message when you request a summary.

Google has been spotted working on a potentially handy feature that will allow Google Assistant to summarize text on a webpage with a simple voice command.

The latest beta version of the Google app (version 14.29) includes evidence that the voice assistant is set to receive its first generative AI in the future, as per 9to5Google. Assistant is already equipped with an accessibility feature that reads web pages aloud, with support for over 42 language translations.

In the future, Assistant may be able to cut to the chase when you say, "Hey Google, summarize this" and the likes. Alternatively, the in-progress "Summarize" button is said to show up once Assistant is summoned using the usual "Hey Google" hotword while surfing the internet, alongside the "Lens" and "Read" options, as shown below.

Google Assistant interface showing the summarize button next to read and Lens

(Image credit: 9to5Google)

However, it only seems to support web pages opened directly in Google Chrome or through a Custom Tab, which relies on Chrome as well. 9to5 also notes that the feature is inoperable at the moment and only returns an error message when asked to summarize a page.

While the feature is presumably still in the works, 9to5 speculates that it might be exclusive to Google's Pixel phones when it becomes publicly available. Seeing as most of the voice assistant's useful capabilities are limited to the search giant's best Android phones, including "Call Screen," "Hold for me," and "Quick phrases," it won't be surprising if that's the case.

Google first rolled out an AI-powered summarization feature to Google Docs, while Gmail is also capable of summarizing the contents of a long email thread.

While a similar tool in Assistant may be a big boon for accessibility for people trying to get the gist of a long article, a few glaring issues are too concerning to ignore, chief among them the often bad and unreliable materials produced by generative AI.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.