Google announces new smartphones will have Google Assistant buttons, Digital Wellbeing expanding to the Moto G7, and Google Lens suggestions availability on the LG G8
Mobile World Congress officially starts tomorrow in Barcelona, but today we’ve already seen Xiaomi unveil the 5G Mi Mix 3 and global Mi 9, Huawei unveil the Mate X and new MateBooks, HMD Global announce the Nokia 9 and new mid-range devices, and LG announce the G8 ThinQ and V50 ThinQ. MWC isn’t only about new hardware, though. Google typically announces a lot of updates to their existing software services at the event, and today, the company announced a lot of news related to Google Assistant, Digital Wellbeing, and Google Lens.
More smartphones with Google Assistant buttons
We’ve already seen smartphone manufacturers add dedicated hardware buttons that launch voice assistants. Samsung has added a dedicated Bixby button from the Galaxy S8 to the Galaxy S10, but the company is finally allowing users to officially remap the button. LG has packed a dedicated Google Assistant button on the G7 ThinQ, V40 ThinQ, G8 ThinQ, and other mid-range devices. The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 and Vivo V15Pro have AI buttons that launch different assistants depending on the market. Even HMD Global is joining in on the trend with the inclusion of a Google Assistant button on the Nokia 3.2 and Nokia 4.2. As it turns out, the adoption of dedicated Google Assistant buttons can be attributed to Google’s efforts to push their virtual assistant, and the button is coming to more devices.
Google has announced that they’re bringing the button to the “full portfolio of new Android devices with LG and Nokia,” which suggests that every new device from the two brands will sport dedicated virtual assistant buttons. The company also states that future smartphones from Xiaomi, TCL, and Vivo will also include Google Assistant buttons. Google expects over 100 million devices to launch with a button.
Google also states that tapping the assistant button will no longer act as if the home button was simply long-pressed. Rather, double pressing the physical button will launch the visual snapshot interface that displays curated information based on earlier interactions with the Assistant and the current time of day or location. When the button is long-pressed, a walkie talkie mode will be launched which tells the Google Assistant to continue listening to the user for queries as long as the button is held down.
Double tapping the assistant button to launch the visual snapshot. Via: AndroidAuthority.
Digital Wellbeing is expanding to more devices
After launching on the Google Pixel devices with the release of Android 9 Pie, Digital Wellbeing expanded to Android One smartphones like the Nokia 7 Plus, Nokia 6, and Nokia 8. Now, Google has announced that the Motorola Moto G7 family will get support for Digital Wellbeing. That includes the Moto G7, Moto G7 Plus, Moto G7 Power, and Moto G7 Play.
The LG G8 ThinQ has Google Lens suggestions
The LG G8 ThinQ launched earlier today with a plethora of new, arguably gimmicky features including vein recognition for biometric hand authentication and touchless Air Motion gestures. One feature that it boasts—that’s certainly not a gimmick—is real-time Google Lens suggestions, as Google announced today. In the camera app, Google Lens will continuously analyze whatever is in the viewfinder, allowing it to give contextual recommendations when it detects a phone number, email address, physical address, or move. Previously, Google Lens suggestions was limited to the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
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