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You can finally use the keyboard to ask Google Assistant questions

You can finally use the keyboard to ask Google Assistant questions


Yay for typing

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At long last, Google is enabling a keyboard in the Google Assistant. It will work on both Android and iPhone, and Google’s implementation is, well, exactly what you’d expect. When you open the Assistant, it defaults to voice, but you can hit a little keyboard button and get the keyboard. (The mic is still available if you need it.)

When you type your query to the Assistant, it also changes behavior: its replies are strictly visual and it doesn’t speak them as it usually does. Google is trying to differentiate the Assistant from more traditional Google search, too, so this will feel basically like chatting with the Assistant in Allo without having to use Allo, because very few people use Allo.

That’s kind of the whole darn thing: an obvious feature, sorely needed, but paired with some of the other features getting added to the Assistant this year, makes the whole thing feel a little more filled out. In particular, later this year you’ll have three input methods for the Assistant: voice, keyboard, or camera.

The piece of the Assistant that I’m actually happiest about is that your conversation history with it will be available without having to go to a random Google account page. You can just scroll up and see what you were asking before.