Google updated the assistant app to get a more easy-to-use menu when hailing the assistant on your phone. When activated with a swipe on your phone, the assistant shows a more compact bar with controls. Highlighting Lens, speech and keyboard input. Before this update, Lens was on the far-left of the screen. Making it harder to reach from the bottom of the screen. Users who wanted to use the keyboard input had to select the keyboard at the far-right of the control bar. This update simply made both options more accessible by putting them close together in a new ‘control pill’

The slots left by the Keyboard and Lens are now filled with the ‘Updates’ (Left) and ‘Explore’ (right) buttons.

‘Updates’ gives you a brief summary of your day, the weather and some quick functions. Like the ‘Remind me’ and ‘Timer’ function. Both very similar to the old Google Now functions. The same menu opens by dragging the pop-up to the top of your screen.

Explore will open up a menu with detailed information about what the Assistant can do for you. Giving examples of questions you can ask or commands you can give. In combination with services of third parties or other Google products like Chromecast.

Designer flaws?

There are some small issues with the new design depending on the users’ default settings and preferences. If you open the Assistant with a long press on the home button, the mic is automatically triggered. This happens when your default setting is Speech. The mic is also triggered by the ‘Hey Google’ voice wake-up or squeezing the sides of the phone. Did you open the Assistant to activate Lens? You first have to cancel the mic before you see the control pill.

The same happens when your default setting is the keyboard. This opens up the input field so you can quickly type your question or command. But blocks all the other options in the process. As seen in the pictures above.

The first taste of dark mode

As a little bonus, Google also released a beta update (version 9,5). This update contains a new Dark Mod design for the Google Assistant. Some cards, like the weather- or flights card, show a black background with white text. This new mode activates when the phone is in battery saving mode. Or when ‘Night mode’ is set as ‘Always on’ within the Pie Developers options.

The Google app 9,5 is still in beta. But we can carefully assume the new dark mode will be further developed. And be included in the standard updates in the near future.

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