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Google Assistant Expected To Get Keyboard Input: Ask The Android AI With Text Instead Of Voice Soon

9 January 2017, 7:01 am EST By Carl Velasco Tech Times
A recent dig of Google App’s 6.10 beta hinted at an alternative input method for Google’s clever virtual assistant. If accurate, written input could also be used to issue queries, very much like the way it’s performed on Allo.  ( Google | YouTube )

Assistant is Google's clever, voice-activated companion, with the operative phrase being voice-activated, that is, unless for those who use Allo, which actually features a typing input aside from voice commands.

The Pixel and the Pixel XL, Google's self-branded flagships, and Google's Amazon Echo rival Home, come with Assistant, but it receives commands via voice-only, presumably to champion the hands-free, no-frills nature of the smart artificial intelligence-backed assistant. That could soon change, however, as hinted by a code on the Google app's 6.10 beta.

Keyboard Input For Google Assistant

A dig-through of the Android search app's beta has revealed a code which suggests users could potentially refrain from barking orders to Assistant should they wish, and opt for a typing input instead, with the same informed results. Immediate benefits include not being worried over anyone within earshot hearing your personal queries, or bumbling through false voice command pick-ups, which could become fodder for hilarity.

More importantly, though, the support for keyboard input could pave the way for Google to implement chat bots, which are AI-powered companions anyone can start a conversation with.

The great thing about chat bots as opposed to traditional AI voice assistants are their apparent integration of personality. They seem more like friends one can talk to instead of robotic, dispirited personas. This, if partnered with a sterling AI, could spell a widespread and comfortable adoption of AI-powered virtual assistants as the upshot.

As further proof of the potential features, previous teardowns of the Android Wear app brought out code snippets that alluded to the fact that Google might also port Assistant to its smartwatch OS. New code found in the Google app seems to bolster this idea. Not much can be combed apart from these, save for new settings for the Android Wear app. Could Android Wear device soon be the next home of Assistant? It's hard to say for now.

Possible Google Assistant Gestures?

Scouring through the code also hinted at possible gestures for the search app. References to "search gestures" pepper the beta, which could potentially suggest non-touch initialization of Google Assistant. For example, swiping down on the screen might activate the search app, among other possibilities.

Android Police, responsible for the dig-through, also suggested that these alleged implementations to Google Assistant could arrive soon via a server-side or an entire app update. Bear in mind that Google might still throw the idea to the bin before ever releasing any of it. That said, the new features are logical improvements to the virtual assistant, and barring them from ever seeing the light of day could be seen an unwise choice from Google.

Since its release, there's been clamor to bring over Google Assistant to non-Pixel phones running Nougat and not just Pixel, and there's no clear reason why Google is keeping it on proprietary lockdown for now. There is, however, a clever workaround to this, so users don't have to be up in arms for long.

Do you have Google's self-branded flagships? Will you prefer written input over voice commands for Google Assistant? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!

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