Typing support for the Google Assistant is already rolling out to Android users worldwide, mere hours after the Mountain View-based Internet giant announced that it’s equipping its digital assistant with an integrated keyboard. The announcement was made during the opening Keynote of the company’s annual developer conference — Google I/O — as the Alphabet-owned firm announced that it’s looking to bring the assistant to the hands of more people by increasing the number of options users have for interacting with its artificial intelligence (AI) helper. The new functionality is seemingly rolling out as a server-side switch and while not everyone can access it as of this writing, sightings reports that are originating from all parts of the world indicate that the California-based tech giant is already rolling out the feature on a global level.
The advantages of the Google Assistant’s newly introduced keyboard support are twofold; first of all, the functionality allows users to interact with their smartphone companion even in loud areas in which the Google Assistant would have a hard time hearing them. While Google has been improving the assistant’s voice recognition and noise canceling algorithms in recent months, the service still doesn’t perform in an optimal manner in loud environments, so using a keyboard to interact with the Google Assistant is simply more convenient than trying to shout commands or questions. Secondly, the new feature might indirectly improve the adoption rate of Google’s AI companion as it may prompt people who are still uncomfortable with speaking to voice-enabled assistants in public to give this particular solution a try.
In order to check whether you already received the ability to type queries to the Google Assistant, bring up the companion by saying “ok Google” if you have the always listening option enabled or simply long-press your Home button. If the feature is already available in your territory, the Google Assistant overlay window should now have a small keyboard icon located in the bottom-left corner of the interface. Tapping the icon will bring up the standard system keyboard and you’ll be able to interact with the Google Assistant via text input. Refer to the gallery below to see how the new functionality looks in practice.