Most people associate voice assistants with smart speakers, but Google is looking to expand Google Assistant’s mobile offerings. At Mobile World Congress, Google announced it’s adding Assistant into the Messages app in Android, expanding integration in Google Maps worldwide, and adding more supported languages.
Adding Assistant to the Messages app is new. Users will be able to see suggestions about movies, restaurants, and weather. So during a conversation, you might see an AI-generated “suggestion chip” pop up that you can then click to share information with whoever you’re chatting to. From a privacy standpoint, that does sound a bit dicey, but Google notes the content of any conversation isn’t sent to Assistant—just whatever suggestions you happen to send. Users will also be able to quickly look up information by holding down the Home button within the Messages app.
Google initially added Assistant to Maps back in January at CES, but so far it’s been limited to users in the US. Yet going forward, Google says it plans to expand this feature in all languages currently supported by Assistant. Now, drivers worldwide will be able to get driving directions, make calls, listen to music, as well as send and read text messages through voice command alone.
Speaking of languages, Google’s also expanding support for bilingual Assistant from six languages to 12. Originally, you could choose to switch back and forth between English, Spanish, German, French, Japanese, and Italian. Now, Assistant will also be able to support Korean, Hindi, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, and Dutch. Google is also adding support for seven more Indian languages, so you can now speak to Assistant in Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, and Urdu.
While Amazon Alexa used to reign queen among voice assistants, Google’s been making some serious strides with Assistant over the past couple years. This push into mobile is the just latest step in Google closing the gap between it and Amazon.