Can you feel that? It’s the mobile industry slowly preparing to leave Techtober behind for another year. Sure, the next two months are jam-packed in their own way — Best Buy is starting its Black Friday deals before you’ll hand out a single piece of Halloween candy — but this year’s crop of smartphones are announced and, for the most part, stocked in stores. As the Phones Editor here at Android Police, let me tell you: it’s a relief.
While Manuel Vonau and I were exchanging notes on this year’s Pixel devices — check out our Pixel 8 Pro and Pixel 8 reviews, if you haven’t already — we ended up discussing Assistant’s new Summaries feature for articles, which sees Google serve you a handful of bullet points wrapping up whatever’s on the page. As I covered in my review, I wasn’t particularly impressed with the tool (you’re better off checking out the similar feature we have at the top of our news articles), but before I could even test it, I realized something a little silly: I apparently hadn’t activated Assistant’s voice activation on my Pixel 8 Pro.
I feel like I’ve set up ten different phones over the past two months, so it was only a matter of time before I’d accidentally skip a step. But to be clear, this was days into a (relatively short) review period, meaning I hadn’t tried to activate Assistant with my voice a single time in nearly a week with the phone. I’m not even certain I activated it through any of Google’s other methods — it’s entirely possible I hadn’t touched Assistant for days leading up to my conversation with Manuel.
Now, granted, I have a handful of smart speakers scattered around my house, along with a smart display in my kitchen, so I do tend to interact with Assistant in other ways. I also use other tools like Gboard’s voice typing pretty frequently. Still, it took several attempts at saying “Hey, Google” with no response to see just how infrequently I actually rely on Assistant on my smartphone.
So, I’m curious. How often do you use Google Assistant on your phone? I have a feeling there’s very few people in between the extremes here — either you use it or you don’t. While I’m sure Assistant with Bard could change these results in just a few short months, it’s good to see where Assistant stands on smartphones at the moment.