In 2016, Google introduced the Google Assistant with the first generation of Pixel smartphones. The virtual assistant was initially exclusive just to the Pixel devices. A few months later in March 2017, Google rolled out the assistant to all smartphones that were running Android Nougat. Later, it was also rolled out to phones with Android Marshmallow as it occupies a huge user base.
The search engine giant has decided to further expand the Assistant’s reach and it will now also be available for phones and tablets running Android Lollipop and above. With this update, the Google Assistant for the first time will be available on more than 75% of phones running Android.
Devices running Android version lower than Lollipop will still have the Google Now feature which can perform similar to the Assistant but has limited capabilities. If you own a phone running Lollipop, you’ll see an update very soon. After the update, you will be able to add the Assistant and opt-in to use it. You’ll be able to trigger it by saying “Ok, Google”, out loud. Alternatively, you could long-press your home button, or tap the Assistant icon that’s added to your “all apps” drop down.
Google Assistant will be making its way to tablets running Android Lollipop and above for the first time. Considering how unpopular tablets have become over time, there is a large chunk of tablets that should be running an older version of Android. This should also prove helpful to Google as they will be able to access more information from users to improve the AI on the Google Assistant. As time progresses and the update settles down on more users’ devices we should see an overall improvement in the virtual assistant’s recognition capabilities.