The new Assistant consists of a transparent, compact UI and faster responses thanks to on-device processing. A strange bug this evening is responsible for the new Google Assistant disappearing from some Pixel 4, 4a, 4a 5G, and 5 phones.
Update 12/3: Google has addressed the issue overnight and the new Google Assistant is back on affected phones. This includes the minimal UI, faster processing, and Continued Conversation.
Original 12/2: Over the past few hours, Google’s newest Pixel devices have lost the latest version of Assistant. The first indication that something has changed is when you launch by swiping from the corners or using “Hey Google.”
Instead of a very minimal UI leveraging the four-color light bar, you’re greeted with a sold panel that’s found on all other Android devices. This is the previous Assistant design that — for some Pixel owners this evening — shows answers fullscreen. Notably, this bug reverts devices to a version of Assistant that is even older than the “compact Assistant” where responses only take up as much space as needed, thus preserving context.
Meanwhile, voice recognition is significantly slower compared to the on-device NGA, while Continued Conversation is also gone. To confirm, go to Assistant settings and head to the feature’s preference page. You’ll notice that the “Phone” toggle is missing and only “Shared devices” — i.e. Smart Displays and speakers — listed.
This is very clearly a bug that appears to be server-side in nature. It’s different from previous A/B tests where Google was testing different NGA interfaces.
The new Assistant disappearing is not isolated to the latest Google app beta and appears to be widespread among Pixel owners. Of the devices we checked, only one — which is located abroad — was not impacted.
More about Google Assistant:
- Google releases Assistant Interpreter Mode shortcut ‘app’ on the Play Store
- Hands-on: Google Assistant works better on Fitbit than most Wear OS watches
- Google Assistant can now schedule smart home actions, turn lights on/off at a specific time
- Assistant rolling out for Samsung TVs in UK, France, Germany, and more
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.