Open GApps, a widely used Google Apps package in the custom ROM world, now has a function that allows users to choose whether to enable Google Assistant or not during installation. Previously, Open GApps automatically enabled Assistant without giving a user any choice, but now those who want to stay on Google Now for one reason or another have the option to do so. The choice is packed into all versions of Open GApps, but the Pico version, the absolute smallest package that delivers the bare minimum essentials to get Google Play working on a device, does not have the Google App, so users will have to download it after boot in order to use Assistant.
It bears noting that the tweak to enable or disable Assistant is just a couple of simple edits to your build.prop file, for those on a Nougat-based ROM. Anybody whose device is still on Marshmallow or who chooses to use a Marshmallow-based ROM will have to use an Xposed module to get Assistant working. Since all the choice does is change or not change the default build.prop, if your ROM comes with the lines to enable Assistant in the build.prop file, choosing not to have Open GApps make the change will not replace Assistant with Google Now. Likewise, this will not fix any issues with Assistant, so anybody having problems like Assistant not working properly or the OK Google hotword not triggering shouldn't expect any relief from this new package.
Open GApps was among the first Google Apps packages to get full compatibility with Google Assistant on non-Pixel devices by default, and remains one of the top choices of ROM developers and maintainers for a recommendation to go with their ROMs, right alongside Dynamic GApps and old hat BaNkS GApps. The list of devices that officially support Assistant is still quite small, though the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P could end up on that list in the near future. Open GApps is available for devices on Android versions from KitKat and up on multiple architectures, which makes it not only one of the more popular GApps packages, but also one of the more widely available ones out there.