While some people are quick to compare Google Assistant to Siri, they’re just not the same. Google’s virtual assistant is much more helpful, and in this blog, we’re going to teach you how to use it.
Some Preliminary Notes
Before we begin breaking down how to use Google Assistant (which we’ll refer to as “GA” for the sake of brevity), we’d like to establish a few things, particularly about security.
For GA to operate at peak performance, it requires some trust on your part, since it will ask you for a reasonable amount of personal data. But, the more data you allow it to access, the more it can help you.
That said, Google takes cybersecurity very, very seriously. It’s unlikely that a major data breach would occur. Also, there’s plenty you could do to protect your own Google account, as well as your Android device, from being hacked.
Using Google Assistant for Maximum Results
Devices running Android Jelly Bean 4.1 and later should come stock with GA. If not, you can download it from the Google Play Store. For iOS users, you’ll have to install the Google app from the App Store.
On Android, there are a few ways to open GA:
- Swipe the home button up to or beyond the Google circle on the home screen
- Launch it from your app drawer
- Access it from the Google app
On iOS, tap the gear settings icon at the top left of the Google app to open it.
On both devices, in the Settings menu, you’ll be able to turn GA on or off, and adjust the way it behaves. Under Accounts & Privacy, edit how the voice settings work and what the Phone search feature covers.
Now cards are the notifications you receive based on the information GA gleans from you as you use it.
Under the Customize section of the Settings menu, you’ll be able to tweak any specific platforms that send you cards, such as:
- Apps and websites
- TV and video
- Everything else (includes the weather, where you parked, flight updates, etc.)
The Cards You’re Dealt
Once you start receiving cards, you can swipe right or left to dismiss them. You can tap on them for more information. Also, you can tap the menu icon on the top right of the card to let GA know you’d no longer like to receive similar cards.
Your Questions, Answered
After GA amasses a bit of knowledge about you, you can access information on-demand. Just tap the microphone icon and ask your question (or type it) and you’ll be provided with an answer. It can tell you when your next appointment is, track packages, access Google’s search engine and much more.
From the GA app menu, you can type or say “remind me to…” and then whatever it is you need a reminder for. You can set times for your reminders, or have them notify you when you enter a certain location. They pop up just like regular cards do.
Screen Search is only available for Android devices. It takes the information present in whatever app you’re using and performs searches based on it.
For example, if someone mentions the name of a company in an email, you can tap and hold the home button to receive instant information on that company.
Like any good virtual assistant, you can also dictate commands to GA. Say “email…” and the name of a contact to send them a message. You can call, text, shut off your Wi-Fi, play music on Spotify—the possibilities are endless.
Once you’ve given Google Assistant some time to understand your behavior, it will make your life much easier. And, if you have synced alerts from your Windows 10 device, you’ll never miss a notification again!