Google Assistant now shows a feature-specific UI for sending voice messages via the default messaging app. Or at least it does in the US and Brazil, based on recent reports. The new interface won't necessarily change how the functionality works under the hood. But it does mean that users have a more visual way to interact with voice messaging.
At the surface, the feature works precisely as might be imagined. Users simply start by asking Google Assistant — on Android — to "send an audio message. Of course, that's after activating Assistant via either the Google hot-word or touch interactions.
The Assistant UI will display a list of contacts if one isn't specified with the voice command. Then, the UI changes to show that a message is being recorded. That comes complete with a timer, as well as a 'Cancel' button and 'Send' button. Those each work in a predictable way too. The cancel button takes users out of the feature and the send button sends the message.
How is this different from asking Assistant to send voice messages before?
The biggest change-up here is going to be in the fact that Assistant can now give users a physical way to interact with the process. But it also means that users don't need to navigate to the Messages app and initiate the audio-clip recording from that UI. They can just do it with their voice. And that will be an intuitive, easy-to-adjust-to process that works just like transcribing a text-based message.
That also means that the messages can effectively be sent from any page.
The only prerequisite is the same that existed already. Namely, to send messages, cell service is required. As is a phone that supports Google Assistant. The latter requirement should be fairly easy to meet since Assistant has been a mainstay for years, after initially launching back in 2016.
When and where is this available?
It isn't immediately clear exactly where this feature new AI-driven feature is available. Google has reportedly begun rolling the feature out today in Portuguese in Brazil. And it will work in English-speaking countries worldwide.