Last month I wrote about two small changes would make the Google Assistant a lot more user friendly. Ask and you shall receive. Google just added Continued Conversation to Assistant-powered smart displays.
Continued Conversation lets you interact with the Assistant without having to begin every command or request with the “Hey/OK Google” wake up phrase. Activate the Assistant with the wake-up phrase and it will listen for a follow-up after it responds to your first query. You can keep the conversation going for as long as you like without repeating the wake-up phrase. Wait for eight seconds or say “thank you” and the Assistant shuts down.
In the earlier article I wrote,
Continued Conversation may not sound like much, but it makes an enormous difference in ease of use. Repeating the wake-up phrase before every interaction when you have a series of information requests or a sequence of smart home commands becomes a tedious chore that you’d just as soon avoid. Eliminating the wake-up phrase turns the experience into a conversation that gets you what you want quickly and easily.
It didn’t take long before we found ourselves using Continued Conversation all the time. With a Google Home Hub and a Lenovo Smart Display, we also found that smart displays can be much more useful than smart devices that don’t have a display. The problem was that Continued Conversation only worked on the basic Home unit and the Home Mini. If you were in the middle of something in a room with a smart display and wanted continuous information from the Assistant to help you along, you had to stop and move to a different room. Not good.
But that was then, and this is now. Google is rolling out Continued Conversation for its Home Hub, the Lenovo Smart Display, the JBL Link View and the LG XBOOM AI ThinQ. Our Home Hub and Lenovo displays have already updated and it’s a safe bet we’ll be replacing our basic Home and Home-minis with smart displays the next time they’re on sale.
Continued Conversation is toggled off by default. To turn it on, open the Google Home app and tap Account Settings Assistant Continued Conversation. Now, if Google would just let users choose their own wake-up calls, both of my wishes for a more user-friendly Assistant will have been fulfilled.