Google Assistant first made its debut on Android about a year ago on the original Pixel phones, and since then, it’s expanded to quite a lot of other platforms and devices, including basically every Android smartphone. Today, Google has made Assistant available in Google Play, but it doesn’t really seem to do anything…

The Assistant app on Google Play is a bit confusing for the fact that it doesn’t actually install Assistant since the service is already there. Once “installed,” the only actual difference here is that you now have an Assistant icon in your app list as another way to access the service.

Aside from that icon, there aren’t really any noticeable differences in the app. My colleague Justin noted that the keyboard icon changed after installing Assistant to the one found in the new design, but there’s really not any difference here.

So, why does Assistant exist in the Play Store? If you ask me, it’s for one reason — Chromebooks. The new Pixelbook is the first laptop with Assistant on board, and it seems like it does that through this app. As Android Police notes, the “app” does a scan of your device to see if it’s compatible, and on Chromebooks it actually pulls up a UI to do this. There’s no confirmation of that just yet, but there’s my speculation. At the very least, it’s nice to see that this exists if only to give your homescreen a little more flexibility…

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Ben Schoon

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