Future Chromebooks may be equipped with a physical Google Assistant button, as suggested by a recent teardown of the Google app performed by Android Police. The code pertaining to a system message that clearly references "the Assistant button" was found in the latest beta build of the app, version 7.6, giving more credence to a recent report based on relevant commits that pointed to the same conclusion. Just like its name suggests, it seems that the Assistant button is meant to launch Google's artificial intelligence (AI) companion and has no additional functionalities, thus being meant to operate in a manner that's similar to the Bixby button found on the Galaxy S8-series smartphones. There's no indication on where exactly would the button be located on the layout of any Chromebook, though the aforementioned inspection of certain commits does indicate that one Chrome OS-powered laptop that's likely to feature such a key is codenamed "Eve."
The message referencing the Assistant button also indicates that the Chromebook version of the Google Assistant will be constantly listening once it's fully operational, while the code of the Google app also contains references to a "What's My Song" feature that's likely the same one that the digital helper was missing when it succeeded Google Now. The Google app may also be updated with a section for daily highlights and podcast shortcuts in the near future, as suggested by the latest experimental version of the app. Being just a beta build, there's no guarantee that all of the aforementioned features will eventually hit the stable channel and some may be radically changed by the time they are implemented.
The Google Assistant button is possibly the biggest unknown revealed by the teardown, though it seemingly falls in line with Google's recent strategy of pairing its AI technologies with the rest of its hardware and software endeavors as efficiently as possible. The Mountain View, California-based tech giant spent a major portion of this year's Google I/O developer conference talking about deep learning and AI in general, indicating that it's ready to lead another major push in this emerging field. More details on its efforts to do so will likely follow shortly.