Google Assistant Might Make Appearance on More Smartphones

Judging by reports from some Android device users late last week, the intelligent Google Assistant might eventually be appearing on devices other than the Pixel smartphones.

Following a tip from a reader named Paden Rivers, Android Police reported Friday that some users of the Google App beta channel saw a v6.13 "alpha" update that allowed them to use Google Assistant on their non-Pixel phones. The intelligent assistant could be activated on some devices after pressing the Home button.

Unveiled at Google's I/O developers conference last year, the official version of Google Assistant is currently available only on the Pixel (pictured above) and Pixel XL smartphones, as well as on the smart Google Home device. Google CEO Sundar Pichai described Assistant as part of his company's transition to a smarter and more personalized search service built on machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Appearing, then Disappearing, Assistant

Commenting on an Android Police post describing Google App v6.13, Rivers on Friday posted a screenshot of his phone along with the note, "I have cricket idol 4, and with the apk from this post, I have Google assistant." Other readers followed up to report seeing similar results on their Android phones.

Testers on the Android Police team found that Google App v6.13 enabled Google Assistant on about half of the Android devices they tried, while the rest continued to launch Google Now on Tap instead. Among the devices that ran Google Assistant were a Nexus 6P, a Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and a Xiaomi Redmi Note 3.

Many commenters, including Rivers, later reported that Google Assistant had disappeared from their phones, which then reverted to launching Google Now on Tap when they pressed their Home buttons.

"Most of us already assume Google Assistant will appear on more phones at some point," software engineer Cody Toombs...

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