One long-running critique of Google Assistant is how it doesn’t play well with work accounts, specifically Calendar events. While there is an Assistant for G Suite beta, it requires users to actively switch accounts. Google might soon let Assistant access data from multiple accounts alongside your primary one.
About APK Insight: In this “APK Insight” post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in the case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.
Today, we enabled an “Accounts” page in Assistant settings. According to the description, this will “enable the Assistant to access data and services from your other accounts.” There is currently a sole button to “Add a new account.”
That “data” presumably refers to emails, appointments, and reminders, while services could be any logged in accounts, like streaming apps. We haven’t been able to get it up and running, so we’re not aware of how it works in practice. Meanwhile, it’s not clear what platform this “Accounts” page is for. It would equally benefit Android phones, as well as Smart Displays and speakers.
One possibility could have Assistant default to your primary account for most things, but there could be some kind of UI or verbal prompt to run commands with your alternate. For example, maybe users could append voice actions with “on my work account.”
Another option could be that some commands — like “what’s on my calendar tomorrow” — automatically show a unified view of all information/events from every signed-in account.
This would be a marked improvement over how you currently use Assistant with multiple profiles. As of November 2019, users have to actively switch between accounts to access siloed information:
Additionally, if you have both a personal and a G Suite account, please note that the Assistant can only answer questions for one account at a time. You must switch between those accounts if you’d like to ask a question about your other account.
Google touts being able to use work Assistant to conversationally find out when your next event is, create new ones, and see your schedule. You can also send an email and or dial into a meeting. Meanwhile, Google has increasingly positioned Assistant and Smart Displays as a productivity companion.
A user in theory could switch to that account — from the Google app — during work hours, but often personal/work requests to our phone are interspersed throughout the day. This new approach seems to make it so that users no longer have to deal with account switching.
Dylan Roussel contributed to this article.
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