Besides on-device processing, the revamped layout is a key part of the Pixel 4’s new Assistant. A more compact Google Assistant redesign that’s been in testing for all other Android devices now looks to be rolling out to some beta users.
With the compact Assistant, the panel that pops up after launching is about a third shorter than before. The center pill that provides access to Lens, voice, and keyboard entry is unchanged, as are the Snapshot and Explore shortcuts. The carousel of suggestion chips also remains.
Directly above that is a larger Assistant icon with the “Hi, how can I help?” prompt right next to it, while the profile avatar is also bigger in the top-right corner. Notably, these two design tweaks are also live on the Pixel 4 today.
The big change is how the Assistant panel after asking a question/giving a command no longer expands to cover the entire screen. Basic results just take up the bottom third of your display, playing music might be a half panel, and the weather three-fourths.
You can always see the last app used, and tap there to return to that task. This helps preserve context and makes Assistant feel lighter. As we noted in our new Assistant review last year:
This much-improved preservation of context and subtlety reveals how Google wants you to interact with Assistant. In the past, voice was an experience that took up the entire display and often brought you to a scrollable feed. The new Assistant on the Pixel 4 is now more akin to Google’s proclaimed ambient computing future where interacting with help should occur without a forethought of disrupting your life.
Update 6/22: The compact Assistant also revises keyboard input with suggested queries instead of just listing past commands above the text field. The Assistant icon appears at the left, while the text prompt hast been tweaked.
This design first appeared for a few users 11 months ago, and we spotted another A/B test in November. Over the past 24 hours, we’ve received a number of reports of the more compact Assistant rolling out with the Google app beta (version 11.15.12). That said, it’s still not widely available, but this looks to be a much larger launch than before.
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