Google Assistant is a smart service that is Google's answer to Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana and Apple's Siri. However, so far, the technology will be officially rolled out only to the recently unveiled Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones of Google.

Fortunately, for Android smartphone users who really want to have Google Assistant in their devices, there are a couple of ways to do so. Unfortunately, one method will require the smartphone to be rooted, along with a bit of knowledge on hacking and programming for both ways.

The methods are being discussed in a thread on the XDA Developers forum, with the requirements for the processes being an Android smartphone running on Android 7.0 Nougat or higher, the latest version of the Google app at or later, and tweaks to be made to the build.prop file.

Basically, what the two methods will do is edit the build.prop file so that the Android smartphone will be seen by apps as a Pixel XL. This will allow Google Assistant to be installed in the device.

Before starting the procedure, it is highly recommended that users first make a backup of their Android smartphone. In addition, users attempting the methods should follow the instructions and have at the very least an inkling of what is being done, as a wrong move could lead to a bricked device.

Method 1: Manual Editing

The first method, which works on rooted smartphones, will require users to use a file explorer to find the build.prop file under the Root/System directory. Users will then have to look for the "ro.product.model" and "ro.opa.eligible_device" values, and replace them with "ro.product.model=Pixel XL" and "ro.opa.eligible_device=true". If the values are not present, users can simply add them.

Upon making the change, users should then save the file, reboot their device, and enter the Settings menu and then the Apps menu. The data and cache of the Google app should be cleared, and once it reloads, it will have Google Assistant built in.

Method 2: Flashable Image

The second method will skip the manual editing of the build.prop file and will work with non-rooted smartphones. However, the device should have its bootloader unlocked, which is not the same as rooting but will still entail a bit of technical knowledge.

On the XDA Developers forum thread, a link to flashable ZIPs has been posted. Users can download and install these files through a custom recovery image or the built-in fastboot of smartphones.

However, it should be noted that there are many reported problems with the method, likely due to build.prop files that are mismatched.

Another Concern

In addition to many reports on the second method not working, changing the model of an Android smartphone into a Pixel XL could become a problem for devices not made by Google, as the type of the device is used in the apps and updates that pass through Google Play. Owners of Google's Nexus devices, however, should not have such a problem.

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