What is Google Assistant? The arrival of voice-activated search makes Google Assistant essential if you want to keep your website up to date with the shifting internet search trends.

Voice assistants and digital assistants have made it possible to perform searches without the aid of a keyboard. While there are a number of different voice assistants, one of the most popular is Google Assistant.

Google Assistant is an artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant developed by Google that allows users to interact conversationally to get information, complete tasks, and control smart devices and services. First announced at Google I/O in 2016, Google Assistant is available on over 1 billion devices including Android phones, iPhones, Google Nest smart speakers and displays, wearables, and more.

Powered by natural language processing, deep learning and voice recognition technology, Google Assistant can understand context, relationships and meaning behind queries. It draws on Google’s vast search index and knowledge graph as well as integrations with third party services to provide relevant and useful information to users’ questions and commands.

Key capabilities and features:

Google Assistant Voice Search Guide Header
  • Conversational interface – Users can speak naturally and conversationally rather than using rigid keyword-based commands. Google Assistant understands context and continues conversations.
  • Smart home control – Google Assistant can control over 30,000 compatible smart home devices, from lights to locks, cameras, appliances and more. Useful for home automation.
  • On-device processing – For privacy, most requests are processed locally on users’ phones rather than on Google servers. Sensitive data is not collected.
  • Proactive notifications – The assistant can proactively notify users with reminders, traffic alerts, flight updates, and more based on time and location.
  • Multi-lingual – Available in over 30 languages, including UK and US English, Spanish, Hindi, Portuguese, French and German. Accents from multiple English-speaking countries are supported.
  • Integrations – Tightly integrated with other Google services like Search, Maps and Calendar and third-party services like Spotify, Uber, YouTube and thousands more.
  • Continued Conversation – Ability to have natural back-and-forth conversations without repeating the “Hey Google” wake phrase for each follow-up question.
  • Duplex – Can autonomously complete more complex real-world tasks like booking appointments and restaurants with human-like interactions. Currently limited availability.
  • Interpreter Mode – Can translate conversations in real time between 44 languages. Useful for travellers and businesses.
  • Scheduled Routines – Ability to schedule custom Assistant routines like playing morning music, getting traffic updates etc.
  • Family Options – Ability to tailor Assistant for each family member by linking to their account and providing personal results.
  • Reading and replying to messages – Can read out and reply to SMS or messaging app messages. Useful while driving or multitasking.
  • Web searches – Can perform web searches and provide rich authoritative answers directly without needing to click results.

What Is the Difference Between Google and Google Assistant?

Google is the world’s largest search engine. It performs more searches than all other search engines combined. Google Assist is the digital voice arm of Google. In a way, it is an application that runs off of Google. Instead of using a mouse, keyboard and monitor to access information, it uses the voice.

Google Assistant connects to Google, so when someone asks Google Assistant a question (such as what the weather is going to be like), Google Assistant will connect with Google, find the answer and read it out loud.

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Google Assistant Usage and Adoption

Google Assistant is one of the most widely used virtual assistants globally:

  • Over 1 billion monthly active users on phones alone as of January 2022.
  • Available in over 90 countries and 30 languages.
  • Over 500 million monthly active users on Google Nest smart speakers and displays.
  • Over 30,000 smart home devices from over 10,000 brands are compatible with Google Assistant.
  • Over 1 million actions and skills are available, including top brands like Netflix, Uber, and Ticketmaster.
  • Built into Android, which powers over 70% of smartphones globally.
  • Adoption is growing significantly in many international markets like India, Indonesia and Mexico.

Connecting Appliances

Google Assistant does more than just connect to its parent search engine, though. It can control and interact with a number of external applications. It’s possible to sync up email addresses with Google Assistant and have the digital assistant read emails out loud.

The same is true with text messages. It’s possible to ask Google Assistant to launch applications and send out emails or messages. There are now third-party appliances, such as coffee machines and refrigerators, that can connect with Google Assistant via Wi-Fi.

By integrating these features into Google Assistant, a user can send out instructions to the connected devices without physically being in the room or even in the same building.

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What is Google Assistant?

In short, Google Assistant is the voice assistant of Google. It originally started as Google Now.

It is on most recently released Android devices, and it supports the latest Apple iPhone devices. There are also stand-alone Google Assistant devices, such as Google Home.

Google Assistant is voice-activated and responds to questions through a responsive voice that learns the more a user interacts with it.

Google Assistant Benefits and Everyday Uses

Google Assistant provides numerous benefits to users by simplifying tasks, saving time, increasing productivity and adding entertainment or enjoyment:

  • Get information – sports scores, weather, finance, translations, calculations, definitions, conversions etc.
  • Control smart home – lights, cameras, thermostat, locks, appliances etc. voice commands for convenience.
  • Set reminders & events – useful for remembering tasks, to-do lists, appointments, meetings and birthdays.
  • Mobile phone actions – set alarm timers, create calendar events, dictate texts or emails etc.
  • Play music & media – stream songs, playlists, radio stations and podcasts from services like Spotify, YouTube Music etc.
  • Get directions & traffic alerts – for driving, public transport, walking and biking.
  • Shop online – add items to grocery delivery lists, reorder household items, check order status etc.
  • Listen to the news – get personalized news briefings from publishers tailored to interests and location.
  • Productivity – schedule meetings, set reminders, manage to-do and shopping lists, and automate workflows.
  • In-car use – access while driving for safety. Make calls, set destinations, and listen to notifications.
  • Quick web searches – find websites, search Google, get business information etc., without typing.
  • Entertainment – ask for jokes and play games like trivia, MadLibs or Crystal Ball to pass the time enjoyably.
  • Smart displays add visual responses like videos, images, weather charts, recipe steps etc., for a richer experience.
  • Home automation – control lights, locks, appliances etc., with voice for convenience.

Google Assistant offers a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Convenience: Google Assistant can be used to perform a variety of tasks without having to lift a finger. This can be especially helpful when you’re busy or multitasking.
  • Efficiency: Google Assistant can help you to get things done more quickly and efficiently. For example, it can be used to set reminders, make appointments, and send messages.
  • Accuracy: Google Assistant is powered by Google’s powerful search engine, so you can be confident that the information it provides is accurate and up-to-date.
  • Personalization: Google Assistant can be personalized to meet your individual needs and preferences. For example, it can be used to learn your favorite restaurants, music, and sports teams.
  • Accessibility: Google Assistant is available on a wide range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, smart speakers, and smart displays. This makes it accessible to people with disabilities and other special needs.

How Do I Know I Have Google Assistant?

It is important to realize that Google Assistant doesn’t come as just a standard application. It is part of the operating system and downloads through the operating system. Very similar to Siri for Apple it is built into the operating system.

The best way to determine if someone has Google Assistant or if the phone is even capable of using Google Assistant is to check for an operating system. If Google believes the device can handle Google Assistant, it will make it available within a system update.

If Google does not believe a user’s phone is able to handle Assistant it will not patch the service.

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Google Assistant Requirements

There are some basic requirements a phone needs to have to run Google Assistant. It needs to have at least 1.5 GB worth of memory and a screen resolution of at least 720p. It also needs to run either Android version 6 or later.

Sometimes, Google Assistant installs onto a device without the user knowing. To check to see if the service is available, the user needs to hold down the “Home” button for a few seconds. If a “New! You just got the Google Assistant” window pops up, it’s on the phone. If nothing does, than Google Assistant is not available on the phone.

For individuals who use phones incapable of running Google Assistant, it is possible to test out the service using Google’s Allo application.

This is a streamlined version of Assistant and while it does not have all of the same features, it does provide a bare bones option of Google Assistant and is worth checking out. It is a free application and is even available on Apple iOS devices, for anyone who wants to check out a version of Google Assistant.

How do I Turn on my Google Assistant?

Google Assistant now comes programmed onto newly purchased Android devices. However, for devices a year or two older, it is available through an operating system download. Each Android-based device releases updates at different times, so it’s important to check with the service provider to see when (or if) Google Assist is available.

With Google Assist on the phone, an individual must press down and hold the Home button on the device. It is best to do this in a quieter location as it does require the individual to talk into the phone.

After several seconds, the device will automatically prompt the user to say “OK, Google” three times. Once this has been completed, Google will inform the user it is time to “Meet your personal Google Assistant.”

Once this has been accomplished, users must choose “Continue” and allow Google Assistant access to their applications and email address. This simply allows Google Assistant to open, unlock and read out loud emails received. After this setup is finished, it is possible to use Google Assistant whenever necessary.

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How do I Use Google Assistant?

It is easy to launch Google Assistant. An individual just needs to hold down the Home button for a few seconds. Google will then ask the user what they are interested in and, if possible, will perform the search. It is also possible to say “OK Google” followed by the question.

However, this feature may not work if the phone is locked. Often times, it is best to ask the phone a question or a desired search after it is open. Newer phones will not have this problem.

Additionally, Google Pixel phones will not have the issue with this unless a user has gone into the commands and locked out service features when the phone is locked.

What Can Google Assistant do?

Google Assistant is now able to process thousands of commands. From opening emails to controlling home ovens on Wi-Fi, Google Assistant has more command now than at any time previously (it also has more control command features over all other digital voice assistants as well).

Due to this, listing off the thousands of available commands would take a considerable amount of time, especially as many of these commands would never be used.

However, there are a number of helpful Google Assistant commands that are well worth looking into.

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Unlock Feature And Apps

For individuals using the Pixel phone from Google, it is possible to unlock the phone using a voice command instead of dealing with a PIN, face scan or fingerprint scan. This is especially helpful when driving and in need of using features within the phone.

One of the most used features of Google Assistant is the ability to open apps. Whether this is opening Gmail or looking into new text messages and content sent through another application, Google Assistant is able to do it all.


When visiting a new location, it can be difficult to know what’s good to eat and where the top shopping outlets are. However, it’s possible to ask Google Assistant for information on local restaurants.

It is even possible to view restaurants based on user ratings. This way, it’s always possible to check out what’s good and discover something new without sifting through the less-than-desirable restaurant and shopping opportunities.


For anyone who enjoys watching Netflix through their phone, they can launch Netflix via voice command. Beyond this though, they can even select a television show through Google Assistant.

By telling Google Assistant to “Play Breaking Bad on Netflix” the application will open, and the desired television show will start up.

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Sometimes it isn’t possible to sit down and read the news. There are times when a user is getting ready but still needs the latest information read back to them. Google Assistant can do this. It is possible to program Google Assistant on a mobile device to read top stories from certain news sources.

This way, all someone needs to say when they wake up is for Google to tell them the news.


For anyone who has tried to look up sports scores, game times and other important information, it can seemingly be difficult, even when it’s a simple request. Google Assistant can help.

All someone needs to do is as Google when a game time is, what the score is or any other bit of information.


Google Assistant can also provide weather information. If someone asks Google what the weather will be like on a certain day and in a certain location, Google will reply with all the desired information a person might want.

If the phone is active, Google will also display the full weather report and read the weather information back to the user.


For the movie fan out there who doesn’t want to sift through all the ticket websites (or maybe they want to buy tickets on the way to the theatre and can’t do it while driving), it is possible to have Google book tickets through Fandango.

This way, all a person needs to do is say where they want to see the movie and then follow the prompts for buying the tickets.

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Google Assistant Privacy and Security

Privacy and security are important considerations with any virtual assistant. Google takes the following approaches with Assistant:

  • On-device processing – Audio requests are processed locally on users’ phones or smart speakers for most tasks without being sent to Google servers.
  • Anonymization – Audio and transcripts are anonymized by removing identifiable info before storing or using to improve Assistant.
  • User controls – Ability to view and delete voice history, pause Assistant, disable microphone etc.
  • Data controls – Can opt out of data storage and processing for personalized advertising in My Account settings.
  • Granular permissions – Users must explicitly give permissions to enable integrations and share data with third-party services.
  • Authentication – Certain functions require unlocking devices with passcodes/biometrics for access.
  • Encryption – Audio streams and sensitive data are encrypted in transit and storage.
  • Security updates – Regular software updates are provided for bug fixes, patches and improvements.

While no system can be 100% foolproof, Google provides users with control and transparency over how their data is collected and used. Caution is always advised when sharing personal information online.

Evolution of Google Assistant

Google is continually innovating with Assistant by adding new features and capabilities:

  • Launched text ability in 2019, allowing typing queries in addition to voice.
  • Real-time translation for conversations was added in 2019.
  • Scheduling actions and routines capability added in 2020.
  • Duplex restaurant booking was added in 2020 in limited countries and is now expanding.
  • Interpreter mode translation launched in 2021 for 44 languages translating conversations.
  • Launched memory and quick phrases features in 2022 to remember context and frequently used phrases.
  • Added ability to have an Assistant read and reply to messages in 2022.
  • Expanded health and wellness capabilities like heart and respiratory rate measurements.
  • Tests new human-like capabilities such as specifying tone, emotion, and stylistic flourishes to be more natural.

Google continues leading innovation in conversational AI. With initiatives like LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications), future improvements will make Assistants increasingly useful, contextual and natural to converse with.

Comparison to Other Popular Assistants

Google Assistant competes with Amazon Alexa and Apple Siri as the top AI assistants:

  • Alexa and Assistant have significant skill/action ecosystems, while Siri relies mainly on Apple’s first-party services.
  • Assistant’s conversational abilities are widely viewed as superior to Alexa and Siri based on reviews.
  • Alexa controls more smart home devices than Assistant but Google is quickly catching up with partnerships.
  • Siri is the only assistant deeply integrated with Apple’s ecosystem, including iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch etc.
  • Assistant’s access to Google’s search index and services like Maps gives it an information advantage over other two.
  • All three assistants have robust privacy controls but Assistant processes most data on-device rather than fully server-side like Alexa.
  • Alexa and Siri launched in 2014, Assistant in 2016 but it has quickly caught up in features and capabilities.

While all three continue to improve, Google Assistant stands out with its natural language processing, deep integrations with Google services, and commitment to innovation in AI.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Google Assistant:

How do I set up Google Assistant?

  • On Android phone – Turn on in Settings or tap the Google Assistant app. Sign into your Google account.
  • Google Nest device – Plug in and follow setup instructions in the Google Home app.
  • iPhone – Download the Assistant app and sign into your Google account

What devices support the Google Assistant?

  • Android phones, tablets
  • iPhone
  • Google Nest smart speakers and displays
  • Android TVs, Nvidia Shield TV
  • Android Auto cars
  • Wear OS smartwatches
  • Headphones from brands like Sony, Bose, JBL

What can I say to the Google Assistant?

Try asking it questions, commands like “set a timer”, “play music”, and “what’s the weather”. See examples of everyday uses above. Explore more actions by saying, “Hey Google, what can you do?”

Is Google Assistant always listening?

No. Google devices only record audio after hearing “Hey Google” wake word or tapping the microphone icon, not everything. Voice history can be deleted.

How do I change Google Assistant’s voice?

Open Assistant Settings > Preferences > Assistant Voice to pick from multiple male or female voices.

Does the Google Assistant collect my information?

Google Assistant leverages data like search history and activity to provide personalized results. Users control privacy settings like disabling the storage of audio histories and the use of data for ads.

Can Google Assistant read my messages?

Yes, the Assistant can read SMS or messaging app notifications and replies, but only with explicit opt-in consent from the user. The content stays on the device and is not collected.

Different ways to use Google Assistant

Google Assistant can be used on a variety of devices and platforms, including:

  • Smartphones and tablets: Google Assistant is available on Android and iOS devices. To use Google Assistant on your smartphone or tablet, simply say “Hey Google” or “OK Google” followed by your command.
  • Smart speakers: Google Assistant is available on various smart speakers, such as Google Home and Nest Audio. To use Google Assistant on your smart speaker, simply say “Hey Google” or “OK Google” followed by your command.
  • Smart displays: Google Assistant is also available on various smart displays, such as Google Nest Hub and Amazon Echo Show. To use Google Assistant on your smart display, simply say “Hey Google” or “OK Google” followed by your command, or tap on the screen to interact with the Assistant.

The future of Google Assistant

Google is constantly developing and improving Google Assistant. In the future, Google Assistant is expected to become even more intelligent and capable. It is also expected to be integrated into more devices and services.

For example, Google Assistant could be used to control more sophisticated smart home devices, such as self-driving cars and robots. It could also be used to provide personalized medical advice and educational assistance.

Overall, Google Assistant is a powerful tool that can be used to make people’s lives easier and more convenient. As Google continues to develop and improve Google Assistant, it is likely to become even more essential in our daily lives.

Summary: Voice Is Here To Stay!

Google Assistant is a helpful tool designed to allow individuals to search Google without the aid of a computer or keyboard. Everything is voice-activated and Google Assistant provides information through voice commands and spoken responses.

Google Assistant also learns from what a user asks and how users interact with the digital voice assistant to evolve, learn and develop new features and responses based on these changes.

As the Internet and Internet search continues to evolve, so too will Google Assistant.

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