Many Android users love the convenience of Google assistant. You can control smart home devices, play games, get important details, and much more. A new experimental feature allows you to enable Google Assistant in Chrome on Android to enjoy the voice assistant directly within the browser.
Benefits of Enabling Google Assistant
For most users, you’re probably already used to just asking Google Assistant a question by saying “Hey Google” or pressing the Google Assistant button on your Android device, if one’s available. Having it incorporated in your browser may not seem like a big deal.
However, Google is slowly adding Google Assistant functionality to as many existing Google features as possible to ensure easy access no matter what you’re doing. For instance, some devices already have Google Assistant integrated into the Gboard keyboard to aid in more accurate voice typing.
By enabling Google Assistant in Chrome on Android, you can search using Google Assistant versus just Android’s built-in voice recognition search software. This can lead to better accuracy for voice searches.
Before You Enable
There are three things you need to know before trying to enable this feature. At the time of writing, the feature is still experimental, meaning there could be some glitches. Also, it’s not enabled by default. If it goes over well, it’ll likely be incorporated into newer versions of the Chrome browser.
The feature is only available on Android devices for now. Even if you’re using Google Assistant on iOS, the feature is only compatible with Android.
Finally, you’ll need the latest version of Chrome for this to work. If you have an older version of Android, newer versions of Chrome may not be compatible with your device. I had to update to version 87.0.4280.141 to do this.
Enable Google Assistant in Chrome on Android
The Google Assistant feature in Chrome on Android involves enabling a flag. Chrome flags are experimental browser features. They come and go as new features are tested out. They’re a great way to try out new things before they’re fully released.
To access flags, open Chrome on Android and enter chrome://flags in the address bar.
This brings up all the current Chrome flags available.
Instead of scrolling, type “omnibox assistant voice search” in the search box at the top of the screen.
When the Omnibox Assistant Voice Search appears, tap the drop-down box below it. It’ll say “default” at first.
Choose “Enabled” or opt to add a grey or colorful mic. I went for the colorful mic.
You’ll need to relaunch Chrome for the changes to take effect. Tap the blue Relaunch button at the bottom right to relaunch.
When Chrome restarts, you’ll see a microphone in the Google search box. If you tap the omnibox or address bar to search, you’ll see the colorful mic (or whatever option you chose) to use Google Assistant.
Tap the microphone icon to start interacting with Google Assistant. If you haven’t given Chrome permission to access your mic, you’ll need to do so now. Also, if you don’t have Google Assistant enabled, you’ll need to enable it.
Alternative Way to Use Google Assistant in Chrome
If you don’t want to go through enabling a flag, there is a workaround. Gboard keyboards have Google Assistant built in on newer devices. Others may only have Android’s voice recognition built in.
Tap the search box or address bar in Chrome to bring up your keyboard. Tap the microphone icon and then speak.
Whatever you say is entered into the search box. However, not all Android devices have this feature.
The good news is there is a possible new feature on the horizon that may enable nearly hands-free voice typing using Gboard. It’s just rumor for now but shows what the future might hold.