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Google Assistant’s new trick lets you do things without saying ‘Hey Google’

By Nadeem Sarwar April 24, 2021, 1:09 am
google assistant guacamole

The Google app has quietly received a cool feature that allows you to perform a handful of tasks without having to say the ‘Hey Google’ hotword. This is actually not a new feature, as it was originally announced back in 2019 at Google I/O and allows you to perform tasks such as shutting off the alarm tone on your smart display or smart speaker. But it appears the feature is finally making its way to phones as well, thanks to a Google app update that adds a new Guacamole option. 

First spotted by the folks over at AndroidPolice,  the updated version of the Google app adds a Guacomole option in the Assistant settings section. Tapping on it takes you to the next page where it is called Voice Shortcuts. ‘Skip saying “Hey Google” for help with quick tasks’ is how the app defines the feature, which is pretty self-explanatory in itself. So, what tasks can you perform without having to summon the Google Assistant?

guacamole google assistant screenshot

As per a 9to5Google report, the Guacamole trick will let you silence an alarm by saying ‘snooze or stop’ and shush a timer. Moreover, you will be able to handle a call by just saying ‘answer the call’ or ‘reject the call’ among other relevant commands. Google is reportedly testing this capability internally on mobile, and it appears to have been inadvertently enabled widely for more users. However, the linked page (go/assistant-guacamole) returns an error when I try to access it.

I am running v12.15.929 of the Google app and can see the Guacamole toggle in the settings section. However, enabling it doesn’t appear to do the magic it is supposed to perform. And by that, I mean the way it does for devices like the Nest Hub. I tried to make it work, but didn’t find any luck. It appears that Google plans to share more details about it at the next I/O conference that kicks off on May 18 as a free digital event.


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