If you’re like many, you may use an external keyboard for your Chrome device. While there are plenty of third-party options out there that work just fine with Chrome OS, the ability to remap certainly is a must-have for many users.
For the most part, keyboards like my Logitech k360 is the perfect companion for my Chromebox and the function keys work just like the comparable keys found on a true Chrome OS keyboard. I generally remap my Caps Lock key to the launcher and it feels no different than working from my Acer Chromebook Spin 13.
While I do not use the Google Assistant on any of my devices, I understand that there are probably a lot of users who would love this feature and more so, have access to the Assistant while using a non-Chrome OS keyboard.
Soon, you will be able to do just that.
As it sits, the Pixelbook and Pixel Slate are the only devices that officially support the Google Assistant in the Stable channel of Chrome OS but the tools are there to get it up and running on non-Google devices.
Back in February, developers began working on the option to remap the dedicated Assistant key on Google’s Chromebooks. That will prove very useful for those taking advantage of Linux apps and whatnot but now it appears you will be able to do the opposite on your external keyboard.
In a recent update to Chrome OS Canary, the addition of the Assistant “Meta” key is now available in the keyboard settings menu and you can set it to trigger the Google Assistant if you have the smart-helper enabled. The meta key is generally found adjacent to the space bar. You may know it as the Windows key or perhaps the CMD key on Mac. On a Chromebook, it will show as “external meta” when you plug in an external keyboard.
On my Logitech, I now have my once useless Windows key mapped to trigger the Assistant and although I don’t use it, it will surely be welcome by many users when it finally lands in the Stable channel. Canary is currently on Chrome OS 76 so it may be a bit before we see this come down the pike. Obviously, full Assistant support will have to be first on the list before this feature is made available.
Update: Our Chromie Clayton P. just emailed me to let me know this feature is actually showing up in the Beta channel now when the Assistant is enable. Could be here a lot sooner than we anticipated.