Well folks, the transition is officially underway.
While we’ve been reporting on the upcoming appearance of the Google Assistant on the upcoming Chromebook ‘Eve’, we’ve been waiting for signs of a full-blown takeover by Google Assistant to come along.
We were clued in that the transition was getting close to beginning with the revelation that a universal keyboard shortcut was being granted to the assistant with a simple SEARCH + A key combo, but we’re now seeing the first serious step in replacing the existing Google search hotword functionality.
Not That Popular
Let’s face it, in the land of Chromebooks, most people never set up the “OK Google” hotword. It wasn’t difficult to do, but it was a bit buried in settings and was never featured as a center stage player.
Much like the smart unlock settings, this was just something Chromebooks could do that most users never took part in.
Google Assistant, however, looks to change the way users interact with their devices. Instead of being buried down in the settings, Google Assistant will be offered as a setup piece from the start during the normal first-boot process.
In addition to new Chromebooks getting a dedicated Assistant key on the keyboard, this hotword setup will likely encourage many more people to use the Assistant on a daily basis.
I’ll be interested to see how they handle multiple devices with this in the same room with this. If it is anything like the Home does it, that will be fine.
As it stands now, Google Home takes precedent when in earshot. Sure your phone wakes up upon an “OK Google” request, but it hands that request off to Google Home instead. Will Chromebooks do the same? That would make sense, I think, but I’d have to really test it out to make a decision.
What Is Changing
With all that said, what we are seeing from the repositories today is the deprecation of the old “OK Google” setup for Chromebooks. As I said above, it wasn’t used that often and wasn’t that useful. Sure, it could return a few search results, but it wasn’t much more than that.
You can see clear language in this commit that the function is fully going away and a small blurb will be in the settings letting you know that this feature has been removed.
With this gone, a universal keyboard shortcut in place, and Google Assistant setup already in the works, I don’t think it will be long before we officially see Assistant on Chromebooks.
My bet is it will come in riding on the shoulders of ‘Eve’ at an event we are still waiting for confirmation of. The stage is clearly being set for Assistant’s arrival, and we’re ready to welcome it and a new wave of Chromebooks to the mix.