After a long period of exclusivity to the Google Pixel, Google has today announced that Google Assistant is coming to all Android devices running Android Marshmallow or later.
Here’s the word, straight from the Google blog:
Everyone needs a helping hand sometimes. Enter the Google Assistant, which is conversational, personal and helps you get things done—from telling you about your day to taking a selfie. The Assistant is already available on Pixel, Google Home, Google Allo and Android Wear. Now we’re bringing it to even more people. Starting this week, the Google Assistant is coming to smartphones running Android 7.0 Nougat and Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
The writing has been on the wall for this release for a while. Not to mention the fact that Google announced it was bringing Assistant to all Android TV devices back at CES, we were also told that the Assistant was soon coming to the Nexus 5X and 6P, and the company also accidentally enabled it on many devices in an alpha release of the Google App.
Google says that the period of exclusivity on the Pixel was about refining the experience. “It was a new product and we wanted to make sure we took the baby steps required,” Product Lead for Assistant Gummi Hafsteinsson said in an interview with Bloomberg. “We obviously would want to provide it to every device in the world,” he added.
According to Google’s developer dashboard, bringing the Assistant to all Marshmallow and Nougat devices means that approximately 31.9% of Android phones — at the time of this writing — will be getting the feature. As you can see in the image above, that includes phones such as Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S7 from last year, the LG V20, and more.
But even though it’s coming to a plethora of phones, it’s still relatively limited in terms of languages. “The Google Assistant will begin rolling out this week to English users in the U.S.,” Google says.” From there, it will come to “Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, as well as German speakers in Germany. We’ll continue to add more languages over the coming year.”
Besides the LG G6 (which LG and Google today announced will be shipping with the an “optimized” version of the Google Assistant that can work with the screen turned off), Marshmallow and Nougat devices will be receiving an update over-the-air soon. Google is showing off the Assistant running on some partner phones this week at MWC.