From just two handsets to hundreds, Google has lifted the device restriction on its AI helper, Google Assistant.
Announced earlier this week, Google Assistant will replace Google Now and Now on Tap on any device running Android 6.0 and above that supports Google Play Services. That doesn't sound like a lot, but it is: nearly 32% of all Android phones are running Marshmallow or Nougat, which translates into nearly 500 million devices (if there are 1.5 billion active devices that can connect to the Play Store).
To access Google Assistant, one simply needs to hold down the home button on their device — the same method as accessing Google Now. The transition will take a few days to complete, since it involves receiving an updated version of Google Play Services, but once it rolls out it will be the single biggest update to Android in years that didn't have to be approved by a phone manufacturer or carrier. That's because Assistant fundamentally changes the way one uses an Android phone, shifting much of the interaction from text to voice.
The rollout for phones will initially be limited to U.S. devices but will soon be available for English speakers in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, as well as German speakers in Germany. Google says more countries will come soon.
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.
The Galaxy S20 FE is the best Samsung phone you can buy
Samsung makes a lot of phones — from $1,300 flagships with insane 50x zoom cameras to $250 budget phones with massive batteries. These are the best Samsung phones you need to know about in 2020.
Tales From the Galaxy's Edge trailer wields The Force and a release date
Stories far and wide reveal The Force in this full-length Star Wars: Tales From the Galaxy's Edge trailer, coming next month for Oculus Quest and Oculus Quest 2.
Review: Amazon's new duo of Echo Dots are a roundabout success
At its fall 2020 event, Amazon unveiled an entirely new design for its Echo smart speaker lineup, featuring a soft, spherical design on the standard Echo (4th Gen) and the three flavors of Echo Dot (4th Gen). We took a look at the Echo Dot with Clock (4th Gen) and Echo Dot (4th Gen) to see how much they've improved over the previous generation and let you know if we think you should buy...
The best doorbells that support Google Assistant
Smart doorbells are great. Smart doorbells that work with the Google Assistant are even better. Here are the best ones you can buy!