Google Assistant is finally gaining true integration with the Bard AI. Over the coming months, Assistant will tap into the Bard AI when you ask it to compose a text message, create a travel itinerary, answer a complicated question, or perform other tasks. This functionality will extend to smartphones, where Assistant can also summarize web pages, generate captions for images on social media, and streamline your work in Gmail or Docs. These new capabilities were showcased at the Made by Google 2023 event, where Google also revealed the Pixel 8 smartphone and Pixel Watch 2 wearable.
This announcement is notable for a few reasons. Google is the first company to bundle a free AI chatbot with a mobile operating system—even if you have zero interest in the Bard AI, you can access it from an Android device without downloading any apps. Also, this is the most significant Google Assistant update we’ve ever seen.
However, we don’t know how useful this update will be to the average person. Google Assistant can now use AI to answer complicated questions, which is great, and fans of the Bard AI can now access it using voice commands (without any weird workarounds). New AI integration also allows Assistant to search your inbox for impossible-to-find emails. But many of the other capabilities demonstrated by Google, like creating lists or generating captions for Instagram posts, already existed in some capacity or require very little effort in the first place. Using the Bard AI to summarize web pages seems useful, but AI summaries are still a crapshoot, and users may avoid the feature if they notice any major screwups.
The AI upgrade coincides with a larger Google Assistant overhaul. Earlier this year, Google announced a new voice for the Assistant, plus enhanced natural language comprehension. Google’s Pixel 8 launch event was also earmarked by two-times faster Assistant voice processing, automatic language detection, and more accurate Call Screen behavior on Pixel devices.
All of these new Assistant enhancements will debut on the new Pixel 8 smartphone. Early testers will gain access first. In time, the upgraded Google Assistant will be generally available on all Assistant-enabled smart speakers, Android devices, and iOS devices.