The new Google Assistant lets you level up voice commands with Chrome

Google Assistant on the Pixel 4 XL
Google Assistant on the Pixel 4 XL (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google is working on better integration between Assistant and the Chrome browser.
  • Enabling an experimental flag in the browser will let you control it with voice commands.
  • The new voice controls include the ability to open and close tabs, bookmark pages, reload pages, and more.

Alongside a new UI and much, much faster performance thanks to local processing, the new Assistant also promises to open up voice commands on the Android platform and let more developers enable broader voice functionality for their apps. Of course, the best showcase for these upgrades is Google's own suite of apps, and the company is showing the power of the new Assistant through its browser.

As reported by Android Police, the Chromium Gerrit shows the company's working on enabling what it's calling 'direct actions' in Chrome. These are voice commands that you can give the new Assistant to perform a variety of functions in the browser. The current list includes:

  • Go back
  • Reload
  • Go forward
  • Bookmark this page
  • Open downloads
  • Open preferences
  • Open history
  • Open help
  • Open a new tab
  • Close this tab
  • Close all tabs

At the moment, it seems the 'open help' and 'open preferences' commands don't work correctly. The Gerrit post also notes that the list of commands currently available is not the final set of commands, so Google may add other options at a later date. In order to get the rest of the commands working, however, you need to have the new Assistant — currently available only in English on select devices, and in only a few countries — and you need to enable the 'Direct actions' flag in Chrome.

To do so, you can simply open the browser and type in 'chrome://flags' in the URL bar. Then, search for 'Direct actions' in the available flags and enable it. You should now be able to use Google Assistant to control Chrome. Enjoy!

Muhammad Jarir Kanji