Stadia launched last month with some marquee features not yet available and listed as “coming soon.” The first notable update to the underlying game-streaming platform is Google Assistant for the Stadia Controller on TVs.
Google telegraphed ahead of time that Assistant would not be available on day one. For the past two weeks, tapping the dedicated button on the Made by Google accessory displayed a “coming soon” message.
You can now set up Google Assistant by going to settings in the Stadia app for Android and iOS. Under “Display,” there is a new “Google Assistant” menu with option to “Enable Assistant button on Stadia Controllers.” If it’s not yet appearing, try closing the app in Recents/multitasking and reopening. On iPhones, you need to also install the Google Assistant app for iOS.
Currently in “Early Access,” there are several limitations to Google Assistant on the Stadia Controller today. For starters, it only works from the Stadia home screen on Chromecast-connected televisions. This reflects how the best gaming experience is still found on the largest screen in your home.
Google does note that “soon you’ll also be able to use it while playing games as well as in the Stadia app and website.” This matches how wireless Controller support — scheduled for 2020 — is not yet available on those two form factors.
Meanwhile, commands are limited to casting/starting games, and asking basic questions like “what’s the weather” or even “roll the dice.” There is no ability to play regular music or videos. You also have the option to enable personal results for queries relating to your calendar or commute. In the future, Stadia’s Assistant will work while in the middle of a game and can surface hints and YouTube walkthroughs.
The actual interface is very similar to Google Assistant for Android TV. Tapping the button — you don’t have to press and hold while issuing a command — slides up a gray bar from the bottom of the screen with four dots and “Hi, how can I help?” prompt.
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