Google is ramping up efforts to make its AI even more helpful, this time for onboarding based on recently spotted test associated with Assistant. For clarity, ‘onboarding’ refers to what’s seen by end-users when they’re still new to a feature. For this onboarding UI change, the test shows a new focus primarily on the UI presented when Assistant is first opened up.
Now, Google has replaced the compass-shaped icon typically found at the lower-right-hand side of that UI with an envelope. The remainder of the interface stays the same. But that new icon doesn’t take users to a messaging system or email. Instead, it loads up a full screen “Updates for you” page. That details the latest updates to the Assistant. Or, in the case of new users, a Welcome message to get them started learning how to use the AI.
The previously-used compass icon is still present and accounted for. That’s been moved to the “Updates for you” page. It’s featured somewhat less prominently than before. And it can be found to the left of the profile icon found at the top-right-hand corner of the page. As always, tapping the icon takes users to the Explore page, loaded top to bottom with available Assistant actions and apps.
More personalized results are found under the paper-tray icon at the bottom-left-hand side of the UI throughout.
Google Assistant has at least one non-onboarding test running too
This updated test UI seems to fall in line with at least one other test run Google has going for Assistant too. But the other one has almost nothing to do with onboarding. It’s more directly related to exactly what suggestions appear on the UI discovered when Assistant is first launched.
For clarity, that’s a launch via either an upward swipe-and-hold, long-press on the home icon, or by saying “Okay Google” or “Hey Google.” The suggestions in question are those located on oval-shaped-pills just below the primary Google Assistant message.
While apparently less widely available, the new feature ties in the suggestions displayed on that pull-up to better align with the time of day. For example, one user spotted a “turn on the lights” at a specific time of day. That suggestion appeared multiple times but always at the same time of day.
The implication is that, in addition to onboarding tests, Google is looking to remind users of actions their Assistant can take based on logical assumptions about their day. For instance, when it starts getting dark, as in the above-mentioned case.
The AI is essentially reminding users that it can turn on their smart lights, in that example. And those suggestions are appearing for users at a time of day that they’ll be most useful for. In effect, that gives them a quick-tap option in the UI, exactly when they’d need it.
This is just under testing for now
Both of the examples point to a wider, concerted effort by Google to ensure that the Assistant is not only making itself useful. But that it’s also making itself proactively useful. The resulting impact of that should be an IoT and smart home ecosystem that’s more convenient and intuitive to use. That’s if any of these makes its way to the widely-available variant of Assistant.