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article imageGoogle to bring its AI Assistant to every new Android phone

By James Walker     Feb 27, 2017 in Technology
Google has announced it is to launch Google Assistant on every modern Android smartphone running new versions of the operating system. Assistant lets you talk to Google using natural language, turning the search engine into your go-to personal aid.
Google announced Assistant back in October. It's built into Android on the company's own Pixel phones and a handful of handsets from third-party partners. Assistant expands on Google's earlier voice assistant ambitions with Google Now. It is activated using the same "OK Google" hotword.
Assistant acts as a single place for you to interact with Google and control your digital life. Rivalling Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana, Assistant's functions range from simple web searches to helping you find highly contextualised information using a conversational chat interface.
Google announced Assistant is going to roll out to more Android phones during Mobile World Congress this weekend. By removing the Pixel-only limitation, Google can bring Assistant to more people and increase the growth of its AI. Assistant will also become more intelligent through being able to study interactions with new users.
Starting this week, Assistant will be rolling out automatically to all Android phones running 6.0 Marshmallow and 7.0 Nougat, providing the Google Play Services package is installed. Initially, only English speakers in the U.S., U.K., Australia and Canada and German speakers in Germany will be able to access the feature. Google said it plans to add more languages later in the year as part of its ongoing aim of making Assistant available wherever you are.
Google Assistant on Android phones
Google Assistant on Android phones
"Our goal is to make the Assistant available anywhere you need it," said Google. "It came to Android Wear 2.0—via new smartwatches—just a few weeks ago and, as we previewed in January, the Assistant is also coming to TVs and cars. With this update, hundreds of millions of Android users will now be able to try out the Google Assistant."
By pushing Assistant out to every Marshmallow and Nougat phone, Google can add millions of users to its install base at the click of a button. However, the majority of Android customers will still be unable to access the feature.
Marshmallow and Nougat hold a combined market share of just over 30%. Marshmallow is now the single most popular version but phones running KitKat and Lollipop account for over 55% of the overall total.
It's doubtful Google will ever launch Assistant on these older devices, forcing customers to upgrade to get the new features. These customers will be catered for by the company's extensive range of partner devices, including phones from Samsung, Sony, Huawei and LG.
More about Google, google assistant, Android, Ai, Artificial intelligence
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