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Google Assistant is coming to Android’s default texting app


Google Assistant is coming to Android Messages, the default texting app on most Android smartphones. The announcement is just one of Google’s Assistant updates from Mobile World Congress 2019 — the first being about dedicated Google Assistant buttons cropping up on more smartphones.

When you text someone a restaurant suggestion, you’ll see a bubble in the chat pop up. Click it, and it will be a Google Assistant card about the restaurant, not unlike the Knowledge Graph card you see when searching for a restaurant on Google. You can either look up details of the restaurant right there, or send the whole card into the conversation so the person you’re talking to can simply look at the details without needing to leave the thread. This approach is different from the company’s other chat app Allo, which will soon be shut down, as you could call upon Google Assistant at a moment’s whim.

Google also said Assistant in Google Maps — which debuted at CES 2019 —  will soon support all the languages that Assistant is already capable of using.

Smaller updates to Assistant are coming too. For example, Assistant will be rolling out in seven more Indian languages, including Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam and Urdu. Not only that, but Assistant can now translate to or from Korean, Hindi, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Dutch, on top of the languages that were already supported by Google Assistant’s translation feature.

Google also announced a few improvements to Assistant in feature phones running KaiOS. For example, a new Voice Typing mode will let you use your voice instead of text anytime there’s a text field. You can now also keep your phone’s settings in English, and change Assistant’s language to something else.

It will be interesting to see how Google Assistant continues to develop over the next year or so, especially in the face of other digital assistants like Alexa and Siri. While Google Assistant is considered to be among the best digital assistants out there, competition is expected to grow as we head into an era of voice-controlled computing. That being said, Google disclosed the Assistant is now available in more than 80 countries in nearly 30 languages.

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