Following yesterday’s MWC 2019 announcement that more phones will feature dedicated hardware buttons, Google is expanding where users can access Assistant. It will soon be available in Messages for Android, and coming to more languages in Google Maps.
Assistant for Messages was teased as a feature when Google announced last year that its consumer communication strategy is focused on RCS. The implementation is very similar to Google Allo and works somewhat like Smart Reply.
On-device AI is leveraged to scan your messages for topics like movies, restaurants, and the weather. Assistant will surface suggestion chips relevant to your conversation just above the text field. Tapping will slide up an Assistant panel from the bottom of the screen with a Knowledge Panel.
The bottom left chip lets you send that card to your current one-on-one or group chat, while users can also perform new searches or browse through suggestions.
On the privacy front, the contents of your conversation are never sent to Google. The scanning performed to surface suggestions stay on your device, with Google only aware of that topic after you tap and decide to search it.
Meanwhile, Google also touts Assistant’s “What’s on my screen” capability to find other suggestions when using Messages. This Assistant is launching over the coming months for English users around the world.
Google is also bringing Assistant in Google Maps to other languages. It rolled out in English earlier this year, with Google noting a 15x increase in voice commands to read received texts aloud and send new messages. This hands-free help is coming to all Assistant phone languages in the coming weeks.
Other announcements at MWC 2019 today focus on expanded multilingual and international support for Assistant.