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Google Assistant just got much better and more convenient on iOS thanks to Siri Shortcuts

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“Hey Siri. OK Google.”

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Google is doing everything it can to make Assistant feel less like a second-class citizen on iOS. Siri is so ingrained in Apple’s platform that competing virtual assistants can’t quite match its convenience or the speed of accessing it, but Google is taking advantage of every tool at its disposal to get closer.

You can already add an Assistant widget to the left of your home screen (or lock screen). And with an update released today, Google Assistant is introducing support for Siri Shortcuts.

So you can record a phrase like the usual “OK Google” or “Hey Google” and from then on, whenever you say that to Siri, the Assistant app will open and immediately start listening for your question or command.

If your iPhone is unlocked, you can even access it hands-free by saying “Hey Siri” and then “OK Google” (if that’s the phrase you pick). Talk about crossing streams. But hey, it’s an improvement.

You can also set up Siri shortcuts for phrases you frequently use with Assistant. So you can come up with a custom voice command for a single smart home action — or even to trigger your Google Assistant smart home routines inside of Siri. Saying something like “Goodnight Google” to Siri could open Assistant and run a routine like turning off all your lights and locking the door. Pretty neat. See? There’s something to this whole shortcuts thing.

To get the new shortcuts integration, just update to the latest version of Assistant for iOS.

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge