Yesterday, Google announced the arrival of a feature for the Google Assistant that was shown off at I/O back in May: Continued Conversations. We’ll talk very briefly about what Continued Conversations are and then show you how you can get it all set up and running.
First, what is this new feature? Simply put, this is Google allowing your devices that use the Assistant to continue listening to you for a few seconds after a question so you can issue a follow-up if needed. For instance, before this update, if I wanted to check the weather today, tomorrow, and for the weekend, I’d have to issue the “OK Google” command three times.
It sounds small, but having to bark “OK Google” over and over again gets a bit exhausting. After enabling the new feature, you can now ask “What’s the weather today?” After Google answers, you can simply say “What about tomorrow?” Again, after an answer, you can say “How about this weekend?” Google knows you are still talking about the weather, so it contextually knows how to answer.
Trying to throw it a bit of a curveball, I threw in a “What about in Cincinnati?” and not only did Google know I was still talking weather, it knew that I had just asked about the weekend weather and gave me the forecast for this weekend in Cincinnati (we’re going to see the Cubs Saturday!).
I’ll admit, it is impressive and adds a ton to the overall conversational feel Google is really starting to pin down with the Assistant.
So, How Do You Enable This?
I wish this was a bit simpler, but it took me a second to figure it out. Google says you need to go to your Assistant settings, but that isn’t the most straightforward task. I launched the Assistant on my Pixelbook and wasn’t sure where to go, so I clicked the little blue icon up in the right corner. It is there on your phone, too, so you can find it as soon as you bring up your Assistant.
After looking around, however, the easier way is to go to your Google Home app, open the hamburger menu > More settings > Preferences > Continued Conversation and then just turn it on. Any Assistant-powered device that is set up to recognize your voice will now allow the Continued Conversation feature. So far, I’ve really liked using this and will likely get used to talking to the Google Assistant like this pretty quickly.