Future Smartphones Will Have Google Assistant Physical Buttons

Wednesday, 27 Feb, 2019

As well as working on more phones with dedicated Google Assistant buttons, Google has also announced a bunch of new features for Google Assistant at Mobile World Congress. With more Assistant buttons coming from TCL, Google estimates that over 100 million devices could launch this year with dedicated Google Assistant buttons.

Google Assistant for Maps goes live today on both iOS and Android (though as ever you might need to update your app to see it).

The announcement signals Google's increasing investment in Messages as it plans to shut down its smart-messaging app, Allo, in March. If you're chatting about a movie, you might see a suggestion chip to learn more about that film. Google explained in a blog post that you could then share the information Google Assistant provides with others.

Google's also expanding support for bilingual Assistant from six languages to 12. Google appears to be a fan of this implementation as the company has announced more manufacturers will introduce identical buttons with future smartphones.

The change will let you "inject" Google Assistant suggestions into your conversations - no "Hey Google", command required. Google's voice assistant will be able to show up within your conversations (group and non-group) and offer suggestions based on the messages that are exchanged. Users will be able to dictate text messages, web searches or anything else that has a text field. The content of your conversation isn't sent to Google's servers unless you tap on the suggestions. The card for Casa de Tapas Canota that Assistant sent also has shortcuts to make a call to the restaurant, map directions and add a calendar event.

Google has now added in more languages, namely Korean, Hindi, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Dutch, to this mix.

To recall, the feature allows users to switch between two languages simultaneously, with existing languages being English, Spanish, German, French, Japanese and Italian.