Over the past week, Google has been testing an Assistant notification on the lockscreen that provides tappable access to frequent commands. It looks to be an extension of Google making its voice assistant more ambient.
Since it first appeared last week, the feature set has evolved. It started as a simpler “Tap here to talk to Assistant” silent notification that could be easily dismissed.
What’s appearing for a handful of users (via Reddit) — especially on Pixel phones — is now a notification from the Google app that features the Assistant logo in the top-left corner. There are two buttons to “Ask Assistant” or “Play news,” with each accompanied by an icon.
In terms of speed, the first shortcut is no different from launching Assistant by hotword or swiping. Meanwhile, the latter saves users from having to first invoke that or other similar verbal commands. That action is similar to the carousel of suggestion chips that appears after launching the Assistant panel.
To make sure there are not too many ways to launch Assistant, this notification is restricted to the lockscreen and disappears once users unlock their device. In the first screenshot, we see it take top position, but it appears at the very bottom of the shade once expanded (as seen in our image below).
When locked, Assistant is not too helpful unless your device supports Ambient Mode. This feature could be an easier way for Google to bring the Assistant to more devices and scenarios.
This Google Assistant lockscreen notification is not widely rolled out. The company has been working on a multitude of ways to launch Assistant in recent weeks. In July, we detailed a chat head for Android 11 and above that would provide a constant onscreen presence.
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