Assistant, Google’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered virtual assistant is available on Chromebooks too. This post explains how to enable the Assistant and how to use it on your Chromebooks
Assistant was first launched on Google’s own Pixelbook. In its first iteration, Assistant felt like an extension that was plastered on to Chrome OS. However, Google later redesigned the whole approach, making Assistant deeply integrated with the Chrome OS operating system.
I also made a video to go with this post!
Enable Google Assistant
Native Google Assistant support is part of Chrome OS version 71, which is being rolled out this week. If you are on a Pixelbook, this should be enabled by default now. If you are on any other Chromebook, check if you have this flag.
Flag Name: Enable Google Assistant
Description: Enable an experimental Assistant implementation that will work on all Chromebooks. – Chrome OS
Not all Chromebooks have this flag, even though the description says it is for “all Chromebooks”. If you are on Chrome OS version 72 and still does not have it, it is likely that your device is not supported. Chromeboxes may not have this flag. Drop me a comment if you have more devices where this is not available.
Enable this flag and restart your Chromebook. Now, let us set up Google Assistant.
Step 1 – Go to Settings > Search and Assistant > Google Assistant
Open the Settings app and go to Search and Assistant section and find Google Assistant.
Step 2 – Enable Google Assistant
Turn “Google Assistant” on and follow the on-screen instructions to set up your voice match and preferences. This is similar to setting up Assistant on your phone.
Launching Google Assistant
If you are on a Pixelbook or any other Chromebook with a dedicated Assistant key, that will be the easiest way to launch the assistant.
If your Chromebook is unlocked, you can use the OK Google / Hey Google keyword also to launch the Assistant.
You can also use the keyboard shortcut SEARCH + A to launch Assistant.
Using Google Assistant on Chrome OS
Unlike phones, you can easily type your questions and commands using your Chromebook’s keyboard. That is the biggest advantage of using the Assistant on Chrome OS. I love this flexibility.
When you launch Assistant using the keyboard shortcut or the Assistant key, by default, Assistant launches in the text mode. That means you can start typing your query or command. To use voice, you will need to tap the microphone again.
You can change this behavior if you wish to. I have explained it in this post. With that change every time you tap the Assistant key or use the keyboard shortcut, Assistant will launch, ready to take your voice command.
After launching it works similar to the Assistant on your phone. I am yet to see any Chrome OS-specific commands, but I have found that you could ask things like:
- Increase brightness
- Reduce volume
- Turn Bluetooth on
Assistant Settings on Chrome OS
Let us take a look at Assistant settings in Chrome OS. This will be available on Settings > Search and Assistant > Google Assistant.
Let me explain all those options on the screen now.
This means “Let the Assistant show you info related to what’s on your screen”. Let me explain that.
If you enable this and launch Assistant, you’ll see “Whats’ on my screen” as one of the recommended commands. Click that and Assistant will scan what’s on your screen and give related actions.
If you have a Stylus that supports the Assistant, you could use that too.
This also must be a setting that you are familiar with, from your phone. When enabled, this lets you say “OK Google” when the screen is on.
You can enable or disable Assistant notifications from here. These notifications will show up on your system tray along with other Chrome OS notifications.
I already explained this. This lets you choose between text and voice for What’s default input method.
You also get an option to go to Google Assistant settings. These settings are for you to control how the Assistant itself works.
Hope I have explained everything that you would want to know about Assistant on Chrome OS. If you have further questions, or if you think I missed something, please drop me a note in the comments section!
PS: I am hoping that you guys can follow what I am saying on that video! I am new to this whole video thing, so any feedback is welcome and much appreciated!