The Google Assistant Android app is now Gemini by default

Google's Gemini app open with a greeting from the new AI assistant.

Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

TL;DR

  • Google is now turning Assistant into Gemini by default.
  • When you download the Assistant Android app, you get Gemini instead, complete with a different app icon.
  • You’ll have to manually switch back to Assistant to continue using the digital assistant.

Google introduced the Gemini Android app recently. It gives Android users an option to switch from Google Assistant to Gemini and make it the default AI helper on their phones. However, it looks like Google is getting ready to phase out Assistant completely and replace it entirely with Gemini.

If you don’t already have the Google Assistant app on Android and download it now from the Play Store, you get Gemini AI by default. Even the app icon says Gemini instead of Google Assistant. What’s strange is that if you also downloaded the standalone Gemini Android app, you’ll now see two instances of Gemini on your apps list.

Gemini AI replacing Google Assistant by default

Adamya Sharma / Android Authority

When you open the Gemini app that pops up once you download Google Assistant, you can go into Settings and switch back to Assistant. This will then change the app icon and reflect the app as Assistant instead of Gemini.

A Reddit user alerted us to this weird change Google is making when they noticed that the Assistant app on their new Galaxy S24 Plus changed to Gemini automatically after a regular app update via the Play Store. The user never previously opted in to use Gemini on their phone instead of Assistant. They didn’t even have the standalone Gemini app on their phone when Assistant automatically switched over to Gemini.

With Google giving Assistant downloaders Gemini by default, it’s all but clear that the company is planning to obliterate Assistant out of existence eventually. We know Gemini will increasingly adopt

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Google Assistant Driving Mode is shutting down

Strings within the Google app already pointed to the now-official February shutdown

Summary

  • Google Assistant Driving Mode will be shutting down in February, as indicated by a new banner on the home screen.
  • The exact date of the shutdown is unclear, but it is expected to happen later in the month.
  • Other parts of Driving Mode, such as music controls, may remain intact despite the shutdown.


Google Assistant lost more than a dozen features this January, but Google isn’t done picking its former flagship product apart. As previously revealed in strings hidden within the Google app, Google Assistant Driving Mode is shutting down in February this year. The company is rolling out a banner to the Driving Mode home screen that states as much.

As spotted by our regular tipster Samarth, Google Assistant Driving Mode’s familiar home screen now shows a new banner at the bottom, stating, “This view is going away in February.” For now, it’s possible to dismiss it by tapping on the x button within it. There are no further information available in the banner, with no link leading to a more detailed explanation.

The wording makes it unclear when exactly Assistant Driving Mode is going to be deprecated. It could be shut down as soon as February 1, though if that was the plan, the company would likely have started showing the banner much earlier. With that in mind, we suspect that Driving Mode will sunset sometime later in the month. Given that the banner only appears on the home screen of Driving Mode, it’s possible that other parts will remain intact, like music controls.

The Google Assistant Driving Mode home screen can be accessed by starting car navigation in Google Maps and then hitting the four squares button in the bottom right corner, as described

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The end of Google Assistant? Google prepares to launch rebranded Bard AI on Android

Google Assistant – Google’s answer to Siri as a digital assistant, for those not in the know – could soon be getting the chop, replaced by (or at least dissolved into) the company’s AI chatbot, Google Bard.  

While you can normally access and use your Google Assistant with a simple ‘Hey Google,’ 9to5Google has pointed out some interesting, but sudden, changes to the user interface during the initial set-up process – particularly the greeting pop-up when you summon the virtual helper. As you can see in the screenshot below, the friendly introduction you get when opening the latest version (15.2) of the Google app’s APK has changed in the last few weeks.

Google Assistant greeting screens

(Image credit: 9to5Google )

We’ve gone from a message saying ‘I’m Assistant with Bard’ to simply ‘I’m Bard’. It seems like this change isn’t only found in the Assistant app on Android devices, but according to 9to5Google, the new message is appearing in other devices with built-in Google Assistant functionality, such as Nest Hub smart home devices – though this is only based on code analysis, not what is currently live on Google devices.

The change is not limited to just the greeting screen. Configuration options are now called ‘Bard Settings’ rather than Assistant with Bard settings’. Plus, the company seems to be directly referring to Bard as a digital assistant entirely separate from Google Assistant. 9to5Google, who have done a full deep dive, offers this table here directly comparing the old and the new interface.

Google Assistant greeting screens

(Image credit: 9to5Google )

 A swift change in direction 

If Google is making an effort to rebrand ‘Assistant with Bard’, we could be looking at a next-generation voice assistant with complete integration into Bard. Perhaps in the near future, users won’t be saying ‘Hey Google’ to their phones or smart speakers, but

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Wade through that busy group chat as Google assistant helps Android Auto summarize texts

What you need to know

  • An APK deep dive showcases a new AI summary feature for Android Auto backed by Google Assistant.
  • When the AI deems a conversation “busy,” such as a group chat, it will summarize the multitude of texts instead of spamming drivers with its reading.
  • Google has consistently brought AI-backed summaries to its app ecosystem, beginning with generative AI features in Gmail and more in the Recorder app.

Google is seemingly working on a new AI-Assistant feature for drivers to help them stay in the loop safely.

In a 9to5Google APK deep dive, Android Auto seems primed to gain an “Assistant summarize your busy conversations” feature. The code shows this feature will potentially involve  SMS and RCS text messages from Google Messages.

Essentially, when receiving multiple messages through an area the AI deems “busy,” like a group chat, it will attempt to briefly summarize what everyone said. It’s likely Android Auto will still read aloud two messages back-to-back, but anything more than this would be met with a summary — if enabled.

The company’s description of the feature in the app states, “these summaries will be generated by artificial intelligence, so it’s possible there could be mistakes.”

More importantly, it remains unclear if the AI Assistant will read out your summary  while displaying it. Leveraging some developer options unearths what users may find, such as “show message summary” as a toggle alongside other messaging options. This can be easily disabled if the user doesn’t need it.

Android Auto's coming settings for its AI-backed summary feature.

(Image credit: 9to5Google)

The publication added that the sightings of this feature were spotted during v14.5.2 of the main Google app. The version is still in beta and it’s not entirely clear when users will see this AI-backed summary feature arrive for Android Auto, either.

It’s not surprising Google is shifting

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ChatGPT could soon replace Google Assistant on your Android phone

ChatGPT being set as the default digital assistant app

Mishaal Rahman / Android Authority

TL;DR

  • If you want to ask ChatGPT a question from your Android phone, you either need to navigate to OpenAI’s website or open their app.
  • In contrast, you can easily access Google Assistant from any screen through a gesture or by voice command.
  • Code within the ChatGPT app suggests that it’ll be able to become the default digital assistant app, making it easier to talk to the chatbot.

The hottest tech trend of 2023 was generative AI, led by chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT. There are many ways to use ChatGPT on your Android phone, with the easiest being through OpenAI’s official ChatGPT app for Android. Once you open the app, you just need to type or dictate a query and then wait a few seconds for the chatbot to process and come up with a response. After years of bringing up the Google Assistant by using a gesture or by saying a hotword, having to manually launch the ChatGPT app to ask the chatbot a question feels antiquated. Fortunately, it looks like OpenAI is aware of this problem, as code within the latest version of the ChatGPT Android app suggests that you’ll be able to set it as the default assistant app.

An APK teardown helps predict features that may arrive on a service in the future based on work-in-progress code. However, it is possible that such predicted features may not make it to a public release.

ChatGPT version 1.2023.352, released last month, added a new activity named com.openai.voice.assistant.AssistantActivity. The activity is disabled by default, but after manually enabling and launching it, an overlay appears on the screen with the same swirling animation as the one shown when using the in-app voice chat mode. This overlay appears over other apps and doesn’t take up

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Android users could soon replace Google Assistant with ChatGPT

Android users could soon replace Google Assistant with ChatGPT

Aurich Lawson | Getty Images

Hey Android users, are you tired of Google’s neglect of Google Assistant? Well, one of Google’s biggest rivals, OpenAI’s ChatGPT, is apparently coming for the premium phone space occupied by Google’s voice assistant. Mishaal Rahman at Android Authority found that the ChatGPT app is working on support for Android’s voice assistant APIs and a system-wide overlay UI. If the company rolls out this feature, users could set the ChatGPT app as the system-wide assistant app, allowing it to pop up anywhere in Android and respond to user questions. ChatGPT started as a text-only generative AI but received voice and image input capabilities in September.

Usually, it’s the Google Assistant with system-wide availability in Android, but that’s not special home cooking from Google—it all happens via public APIs that technically any app can plug into. You can only have one app enabled as the system-wide “Default Assistant App,” and beyond the initial setting, the user always has to change it manually. The assistant APIs are designed to be powerful, keeping some parts of the app running 24/7 no matter where you are. Being the default Assistant app enables launching the app via the power button or a gesture, and the assist app can read the current screen text and images for processing.

The Default Assistant App settings.
Enlarge / The Default Assistant App settings.

Ron Amadeo

If some Android manufacturer signed a deal with ChatGPT and included it as a bundled system application, ChatGPT could even use an always-on voice hotword, where saying something like “Hey, ChatGPT” would launch the app even when the screen is off. System apps get more permissions than normal apps, though, and an always-on hotword is locked behind these system app permissions, so ChatGPT would need to sign a distribution deal with some Android manufacturer.

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