30 time-saving tricks to try with the new Google Assistant

Google’s new and improved Assistant may not be a full-fledged revolution quite yet, but it sure is a substantial upgrade over the traditional Assistant experience.

The new Assistant, if you haven’t heard, is currently something you can experience only on the new Pixel 4 phone. But rest assured, that’ll change before long: I’ve confirmed with Google that the revamped setup will indeed be making its way to the broader Android ecosystem sometime next year. So even if you don’t have it in your hands this minute, it’ll make its way to you eventually.

So what makes the new Assistant so special? Well, the interface is dramatically improved, for one: Instead of having a big honkin’ box pop up every time you summon your virtual genie, the Assistant now indicates it’s listening via the presence of an animated, multicolored bar at the bottom of your screen. The words you speak appear in that same area, and responses pop up in a small partial-screen window instead of requiring you to stop what you’re doing and shift over to the full Google app.

google pixel 4 new assistantJR

On top of that, the new Assistant moves much of its actual processing onto your device instead of relying on a constant connection to Google’s servers — and that, in turn, opens up the door to some nifty new ways Assistant can work for you. As of now, there’s no easy way to know what those freshly added options are; instead, it’s up to you to flail around and experiment to find ’em.

Today’s your lucky day, though, for I am a master flailer. Flailing, in fact, is what I do best. (That’s probably because I’m at least 7 percent amphibian, according to a recent analysis that I can neither confirm nor deny.) So spare yourself any further flailing, and allow me to take you on a tasty, totally flail-free tour of what the new Assistant can do.

After living with the Pixel 4 for the past several days, these are some of the most interesting and potentially useful new tricks I’ve discovered.