Back at I/O 2019, we saw the undoubted voice control potential of the brand new Google Assistant with the one device able to control certain apps with direct integration. We have good news, as you can now use the new Google Assistant to control the Google Chrome app on your Pixel 4 devices.

This deeper integration allows you to do far more than the simply launch apps or perform basic actions. For those that have access to the new Assistant, you can actually activate these extra hands-free controls simply by activating a few Chrome flags (via Android Police).

To be able to use voice controls with the new Google Assistant, just head to chrome://flags/#direct-actions. When toggled, this should force the enhanced controls, as presently, a server-side switch will determine if you’re able to access them — unless you force enable them via this method.

Now you should be able to activate a number of controls simply by asking the Assistant any of the following commands when Chrome is open on your device (and have full gesture navigation enabled):

  • Open a new tab
  • Close this tab
  • Close all tabs
  • Go back
  • Go forward
  • Reload
  • Bookmark this page
  • Open history
  • Open downloads
  • Go to <name website address> e.g. “9to5Google.com”
  • Share page to <name app> e.g. “Slack”

The commands seem to work pretty smoothly. However, if you are in a region where the new Google Assistant is available but have yet to see it on your device, you might want to check if you have a GSuite account logged in to your device. At present, the updated Assistant is not available to those with a GSuite account logged into their device.

As an accessibility feature, the new controls might be just what you’ve been waiting for. However, while this is welcome, we’d like to see some further integration with more apps and third-party services to help make this a true killer addition to an already impressive voice control method. It’s still worth noting that you can’t fully control Chrome on your smartphone using the new Google Assistant, but this is hopefully the start of an improving hands-free control era that we’ve all been waiting for.

More on the Google Assistant:

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