Google Assistant

Last year’s visual refresh of Assistant on phones integrated many UI elements first introduced with Smart Displays. Notable features included a visual snapshot, and redesigned responses that include images and sometimes on-screen controls. Google today is making Assistant responses on Android even more visually rich.

The focus of today’s update is providing “better visual responses and more complete information at a glance.” Cards will now present “key information” that users are asking for in a straightforward manner with better formatting.

While the redesign last year did update some answers, like weather and smart home controls, others have yet to be refreshed. This design direction comes as Google found in 2018 that nearly half of interactions with Assistant include both voice and touch input.

Assistant — especially on Google Home — can often provide users with a direct answer through Featured Snippets. At times, these results take the form of a long list and cannot be answered by a simple sentence. Starting today, these lists will look less like a generic web page and become easier to glance and read through. They might also be accompanied by a carousel of images when appropriate.

For other results, Assistant will deem it best to just display 10 blue links from Google Search. This was presented as a horizontal carousel, but is now just a list that’s easier to read and features more text. Google does note that — like regular Search results — link ads might appear here.

For some questions, the most helpful response might be showing you links to a variety of sources from across the web to learn more. In these cases, you’ll see the full set of search results from the web. When relevant, these results may include the existing ads that you’d see on Search today.

Other types of queries will also get more visual answers, like stock quotes that feature an inline graph and are fully interactive down to the range. A carousel of news stories, that includes AMP articles, will also appear below the chart.

The events experience is also getting a big update, with list items now featuring map or image preview, and filters. Users can also save events with Google’s built-in bookmarking feature. Assistant is also adding new built-in Search tools like a tip calculator, metronome music pacer, HEX color picker, and bubble level.

All these new Google Assistant visual answers are rolling out starting today to Android. They have yet to appear on devices we checked.

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: