Google Assistant Update Adds More Ways to Control Apps With Your Voice

By Shabana Arif on at

The latest Assistant update for Google Pixel 4 has been redesigned for better multitasking with other apps.

Google cites "breakthroughs in speech processing" for the more intuitive Assistant that "considers the context" of your annoying questions "to do a better job answering." You can see that in action below with the example of sharing specific photos from your smartphone with a particular contact.

Other highlights include controlling a larger number of features with your voice, like opening apps like YouTube, and Spotify, searching within an app – for example asking Google to open YouTube and show you how to make chocolate muffins, and making it more context savvy.

That includes in-app contextual commands for making sharing content easier, and being able to access Assistant while chatting to a real life person on another app. And my favourite is the ability to speak to the Assistant without having to catch its attention with a "Hey, Google" every bloody time.

A refreshed Assistant isn't the only thing Pixel users can look forward to, with the new 'feature drops' that serves to roll out new features and apps on a somewhat regular basis by the sounds of things. The first of these feature drops includes simplified portrait photos, Duo call updates, and improved Google Maps, and is coming to Pixel 2, 3, 3a and 4 users.

The camera features extend to Dual Exposure controls, improved Night Sight, and Portrait Blur, and will be rolling out in the next few weeks.

Faster Duo Calls is limited to the Pixel 4 only, with the phone's working to keep the "audio consistent and the advanced display reduces choppy video chatting, automatically adjusting to keep the caller in the frame."

The update is live today so you can start enjoying a more intuitive Assistant if you don't mind being listened to on a regular basis by your phone.