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New Google Assistant app may let you type as well as talk

We’ve spent all this time trying to make it easier to talk to your phone, but sometimes, don’t you just want to text it instead? Anticipating an answer in the affirmative, Google appears to be working on a few new features that will allow you to do just that — texting Google Assistant on the Google Pixel, rather than talking to the AI assistant.

A new beta for the Google app appeared last week, introducing a number of preliminary changes to the young application. First and foremost, it looks as though the new Google Assistant app would have a keyboard icon, which users would presumably be able to tap in order to launch a text field for written commands.

That could be supremely helpful in situations in which using voice commands isn’t actually the best way to ask for help (in a meeting, a crowded room, or when you’re sick), and would also “pave the way for the day that bots get fully integrated into the Google Assistant,” 9to5Google points out.

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A few other changes have also come about with the v6.10 beta test. There’s new code in the app that suggests new settings for the Android Wear Assistant, which would mean that Google Assistant could soon be compatible with your wearable.

And finally, there appears to be something brand new called “Search gestures,” and this seems to suggest that you’ll be able to turn on the Google search tool by swiping the home screen, rather than having to tap the search bar at the top. Sure, if your phone is tiny, that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but considering that our smartphones are getting larger and larger (and our tablets, too), this could come in handy.

If you want to check out some of these updates yourself, you can download the Google beta v6.10 .apk file here.