The Developer channel of Chrome OS was recently updated to version 72 and with it comes a long-awaited feature for those of you who don’t own a Pixelbook.
The Google Assistant has been in the works on Chrome OS for well over a year but up unto this point, the voice assistant is exclusive to Google’s Pixelbook and the upcoming Pixel Slate tablet. A recent update to the Canary channel activated the Assistant on non-Pixel devices and now has been promoted to the slightly more stable Developer channel.
As it sits, the Assistant is still hiding behind a flag but enabling it gives you all the functionality you’d find on the Pixelbook. Pressing Search+A will envoke the Assistant and unlike the initial Canary channel spotting, the OK, Google feature works just like a Google Home or mobile device.
You can talk to your Assistant, access the settings menu, personal info as well as connected services such as Google Play Music and Keep.
I always recommend against moving to the Canary channel due to stability issues and the process involved in accessing it but the Developer channel appears to be quite stable at the moment and there are no hacky hoops to jump through to get there. Still, be forewarned, the Developer channel can be buggy and even break your device in rare instances.
Back up your data and make sure you have a restore image available before doing this.
Also, before you jump over to the Developer channel, you might want to check and make sure your Chromebook is on the update list. Most devices have moved to 72 but there are some exceptions. You can see the list of Chrome devices on 72 at the link below.
If you’re ready to try out the Google Assistant, head to the settings menu on your device and click
About Chrome OS>Detailed build information>Change channel>Developer. Your update will begin downloading. If you don’t see a progress bar on the About Chrome OS page, click “Check for Updates” and it should force the process. Once it’s finished, you’ll be prompted to restart.
Remember, moving to Developer will not wipe your Chromebook but moving back to Beta or Stable will. BACK UP YOUR STUFF
Now, if you’re in the Develepor channel, point your browser to
chrome://flags and search for “assistant.” There should be one flag that looks like this.
Enable that flag, restart your browser and you’re all set. If you head to your settings page you should see the Google Assistant tab where you can enable the feature. Also, if you have a Chromebook with an included stylus, you should see the Assistant in your stylus menu. Like the Pixelbook, you can circle stuff on your display and the Assistant will do a search for you. Pretty cool stuff.
Note: In order to use the Assistant with your stylus, you will need to enable the “related info” toggle in the Assistant settings menu.