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Google Assistant App Appears on Google Play, New Assistant Features Announced

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Following the Google hardware event in San Francisco on Wednesday, the Mountain View giant has brought Google Assistant to the Google Play store. Before you get your hopes up, no, the app doesn’t bring the Assistant to devices that don’t support it. Instead, all it does is act like a shortcut to open up Assistant on phones that already have it. To recall, Google Assistant on Android is part of the Google Search app (aka Google app) and Google Play Services, unlike on iPhone, where it is a separate app. Separately, at its Wednesday event, the company detailed new features coming to Assistant.

Android Police, the publication that first spotted the listing, notes that Google Assistant app for Android essentially replaces the action of long pressing your home button – becoming a single tap from the home screen or app drawer instead.

The Google Assistant app’s Google Play listing notes much the same thing, “The Google Assistant app provides another way to launch the Assistant that’s already available on your phone. It allows you to quickly access your Google Assistant with one tap. You can still access your Assistant by pressing and holding down your home button or by simply saying, “Ok Google.”

The listing further notes that the user’s device “Your device must still meet the requirements in order to use the Google Assistant (Google Search v7.11 or higher and minimum memory requirements).” Android Police adds that the app’s code also reveals that it checks if the user’s device is eligible for Assistant, and informs the user if it is not. The publication notes that the creation of a standalone app may also help users include it as part of an automation tool like IFTTT or Tasker.

Separately, at its hardware event on Wednesday, Google announced new features coming to Google Assistant. Developers can now submit Assistant apps, aka Google Assistant Actions, which perform payment transactions. Transactions on Assistant include the ability to add items to cart as well.

Google is also introducing Assistant Apps for Families that that comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act in the US – as one would expect, these apps are currently limited to the United States. Also new, is Templates, which lets users create Assistant games (such as Trivia, Flash Cards, and Personality Quizzes) without needing to have any scripting knowledge.