Voice assistants are getting smarter, and Google is leading the development race. Google Assistant is already capable of reading notifications and messages from the default Android SMS messages app and the native Messages app. Now a new Google Assistant feature will enable it to read and reply to messages from third-party messaging apps as well.
Android Police and 91mobiles report that Google is adding the option to read and reply to messages via speech-to-text from third-party apps such as WhatsApp, Slack and Telegram.
After you allow Google Assistant to read your messages, a card will pop up with the last message you received. The assistant will read the message aloud and state which app you received the message on and the name of the sender. If the message includes pictures, videos and audio notes, the assistant will state that the message contains an attachment but won’t play it back.
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Users can dictate or type their replies, and their response will be sent from within the app, marking the message as “read” and removing the notification in the process. Users will see a carousel of all their chats and the Assistant will go through them one by one.
The new Google Assistant feature could prove a very useful addition and come in handy when you are driving, cooking and more. With Google Assistant reading your messages aloud, you will know without even touching the phone if a particular message needs an immediate response or not.
Currently the new feature supports limited languages beyond English and does not support any media other than text. This means it won’t play back audio messages or videos, but such functionality may be added in a future update.
For now the feature is not widely available, and Google hasn’t yet publicly announced it. Thus, we can assume that this new Google Assistant feature will be made available to all users in the coming months. The new Google Assistant feature may be part of the preparation for the ambient display feature, which is expected to debut soon.
If you want to check if the new Google Assistant feature is available to you or not, follow these steps:
- Send yourself a test message or wait until you get a message on a third-party messaging app. Then open Google Assistant on your phone by saying, “Read my messages.” First-time users of the feature will have to allow the Google Assistant to access their notification data.
- After you grant permission, say, “Hey Google, read my messages” again. The assistant will now show the last message and ask if you want the message to be read aloud. You can either ask the assistant to reply to the message or type out the reply manually. If there are more messages, Google Assistant will repeat the process.
Google aims to make its voice assistant an integral part of your daily life. To do this, the search giant has made its assistant available to a wide variety of smart speakers, such as Google Home and Google Mini and several third-party speakers as well, such as those from JBL. The assistant is also present in other gadgets, such as smart displays (Google Nest Hub), cameras, security systems and cars. It is also available to iPhone users via an app.
In addition to expanding its presence, Google is also adding more capabilities, such as setting a timer, controlling lights and thermostats, watching YouTube or Netflix, reading and replying to messages, and more. As the list of functions Google Assistant can do grows, it may get difficult to remember it all.
To make it easier to remember, Google has listed all Google Assistant capabilities on a website. Although it is a useful website, you will still have to search for what you are looking for.
Google Assistant can recognize your voice and the voice of up to six family members. However, the technology is not foolproof, so you should be careful before you allow it to use your voice to verify purchases. Google can also customize certain responses on the basis of whomever is talking.
You can change the default voice of the assistant. There are several options to choose from, including a voice like that of singer/songwriter John Legend. However, you can only ask a set of specific questions to John Legend, such as “Sing me a song,” “Sing Happy Birthday,” “Who’s your celebrity crush?” “Compliment me,” “Tell me a joke,” How are you?” “What’s your favorite song?” and more. Different family members can set different voices, and Google Home will adjust based on whom is talking.