Meet the Assistant Shortcuts Hidden Within the Google App
Due to the open source nature of Android, it’s pretty easy for companies to supplant Google’s Assistant with their own as the default solution like with Samsung’s Bigxy in its Galaxy devices. With every major tech company building its own voice assistant from Amazon’s Alexa to Microsoft’s Cortana, the competition for who’ll replace Google’s Assistant is at full throttle. But did you know that Google’s own app has secret Assistant features hidden? This guide will show you how to access the assistant shortcuts hidden within the Google app.
Access Secret Assistant Apps & Features from Google App
We recently saw how to use Nova Launcher’s Activities feature to launch directly into an app’s function or screen. Using this tool we can create an app which directly triggers Assistant’s main screen with new apps & personalised voice commands.
First, make sure that the Google app is updated and that your phone supports Google Assistant. As of now, the Assistant shortcuts only work in a select few countries with the US being the main one. So it’s important to change the language of the Assistant to English (US).
Step 1: Launch Google Assistant window by long pressing the home button. Then select the menu button and go to Settings.
Step 2: Select Phone under devices and tap Assistant language. This will take you to Android’s language preferences window.
Step 3: From here, press Add a language and select English (United States). Then make sure to rearrange the languages to put the US on top. This will make the US the primary voice language of Google Assistant.
Doing this enables Assistant shortcuts. Now when you trigger Google Assistant there’s a new icon where the menu icon was once present.
Create a Google Assistant Shortcut
Step 1: Long press the home screen to add a Nova Activity widget.
Step 2: Scroll down till you see the Google app. Press the drop-down icon next to it to see a list of all activities associated with the Google app.
Step 3: Now tap the activity with the name com.google.android.app.gsa.staticplugins.OpaHqActivity (with the Google Assistant logo)
If you’re still unsure, long pressing will launch the activity as a way to preview the functions. Once you’re ready, tapping the activity will place it on the home screen.
Launching it will open up a whole new Assistant interface with two tabs, Explore & Your Stuff.
Explore: It contains a categorical view of all the Assistant apps available for testing and use.
Your Stuff: It’s a collection of personal data like reminders, shopping lists with a section to set custom voice commands.
From a first look, it feels like most of it is still unfinished as certain things feel convoluted. As an example, creating a shopping list in Assistant doesn’t save to Google Keep and instead stores it to its own service which can be accessed by going to this URL.
But it does feature some cool features like custom voice commands and pleasant assistant apps for actions like playing soundscapes, podcasts, games etc. In the end, it still shows a lot of promise for what the future of Google Assistant beholds. In the meantime do let us know which Assistant command you use the most often.
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