In July last year, Google began testing a redesign of Assistant, which launched in part with Pixel 4. This compact Google Assistant is now appearing for several beta users of the Google app in its widest, but not yet complete, distribution.
Update 9/10: After disappearing earlier this week, the compact assistant has returned. It is again available on devices that lost it, while being shown to users who did not receive the new user interface last month. This may be more widespread.
Update 9/7: In the last few days or so, the compact Google Assistant has disappeared for some users. It has disappeared for me on all devices as long as it is only available on one colleague̵
Original 8/14: An aspect of this new design is its compact size. It starts with the panel that appears after calling the Assistant, which is shorter than before, while the user interface elements are placed closer together. The central pill, which provides access to the lens, voice and keyboard, is unchanged. The shortcuts for Snapshot and Explore also remain the same, although some users today see one for Updates, which provides an introduction to what Assistant can do.
The carousel for suggestion chips looks the same, but now there is one for “Previous activity”. Appearing on the left, this opens a list of recent commands and links to the entire Assistant story.
The next change is an avatar with a large profile in the upper right corner, while the Assistant icon in the other corner is slightly larger.
After you ask a question, the Assistant panel no longer covers the entire display to show the answer. Most results – such as requesting music – simply occupy the lower half of your screen, while time will leave a particle of background, be it on the home screen or the last used application. A small change in the last command sees that Google displays status icons in the suggestion chip.
Overall, this helps keep the context and makes Google feel lighter, as we noted in our new review of Assistant:
This much improved context retention and subtlety reveals how Google wants you to interact with Assistant. In the past, voice was an experience that occupied the entire display and often led you to a scrolling show. The new Pixel 4 assistant is now closer to the future of the environment announced by Google, where the interaction with the help should take place without intending to disrupt your life.
The last release, when more users encountered the compact Google Assistant, took place in June. As of this morning, the redesign sees its widest availability so far in the beta channel. However, it is not yet fully launched.
More about Google Assistant:
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