Skip to main content

Google Assistant for desktop shows off the hands-free future we all deserve

You can install an unofficial Google Assistant client on Windows, macOS, and Linux, and it's surprisingly functional.

Google Assistant is available on just about every platform. It's on most phones sold today — including feature phones — smart speakers, on your wrist, in your car, and on TVs that are powered by Android TV. While Google has done a great job making Assistant easily accessible across a range of devices, it still isn't available for desktop computers.

Sure, the best Chromebooks and Chrome OS products have offered Google Assistant for some time now, but there wasn't an easy way to get Google's digital assistant running on Windows, macOS, or Linux. That's changing now thanks to an unofficial Google Assistant desktop client released by Melvin Abraham on GitHub.

The client uses the Google Assistant SDK to bring the digital assistant to your desktops and laptops, and it works astonishingly well. You can install it for Windows, macOS, and Linux machines by heading to the Releases page and downloading the package for the relevant OS.

I set up the client on Windows, and because it hooks into the Assistant API, it works just as well as Assistant on the Nest Hub or other smart speakers for regular questions. You can ask routine queries — weather information, sports scores, and the like — or use Assistant to manage Google Home compatible devices. I was able to control my lights and turn on my purifier, and it was incredibly cool to do so directly from my desktop.

The downside is that although the desktop client comes with an executable installer, you will need to set up the Google Assistant API with Google Cloud and create a custom token. There's a detailed guide that walks through the entire process, and it shouldn't take more than 10 minutes to set it up.

Once you've configured the client with a key, you can start using Google Assistant on your desktop. There's no hotword detection yet, so you'll have to use a shortcut to pull up Assistant, but you can set it up so that the mic is automatically enabled once you hit the shortcut.

The client itself offers a lot of customizability, much more than what Google would provide if it ever decided to launch a desktop version of Google Assistant. There's the ability to toggle between light and dark mode, enable Continuous Conversation or auto-scaling options, trigger the ping sound whenever you engage the mic, adjust the window float behavior, and more.

While there's a lot on offer here, you do miss out on a few Assistant mainstays. Assistant routines don't work just yet, and the client doesn't pair with Spotify or other streaming services to cast music. One of my most-used commands for Assistant is to trigger music playback to connected speakers in my office, and I wasn't able to do that here. The client itself is still in its infancy, and it is possible we'll get other versions that allow it to hook into streaming services — there's already another client that connects to Spotify.

The biggest hurdle for these clients is the initial configuration: because Google doesn't give out production API keys for a desktop client, you're essentially setting up a custom instance of Google Assistant for your machine. Then there's the possibility that Google may limit the usage of the Assistant API to prevent it from tying into the front-end interface on Windows, macOS, or Linux machines — crippling these client workarounds.

We'll have to wait and see how the situation evolves, but if you've been wanting to try out Google Assistant on the desktop for a while, there's a reliable way to do so now. As for me, I'm going to continue using the Nest Hub that sits on my desk.

A true standout

Google Nest Hub

$90 at Best Buy $90 at Walmart $90 at B&H Photo

Still the best way to use Google Assistant

The Nest Hub's 7-inch screen makes it the best way to interact with Google Assistant. You get a dashboard that lets you control lights and other smart appliances, you can make audio calls using Duo, easily stream music and videos, and do so much more.

Source: androidcentral

Popular posts from this blog

How to watch England vs New Zealand: Live stream 2nd Test series cricket on

With the first Test ending in a draw, the series is on a knife edge at Edgbaston, as Joe Root's side look to put off the field controversies to one side and claim a much needed win against the Kiwis. Don't miss a single ball of the 2nd Test with our England vs New Zealand live stream guide below. The series has been somewhat overshadowed by the emergence of offensive historic tweets posted by Ollie Robinson who made his debut in the opening Test but has since been suspended. With the controversy still brewing amid interventions from politicians and accusations leveled at other members of the team, Root has a battle on his hands to keep his side focused on the game ahead. One positive for Root coming into the game is that they'll be playing in front of a near capacity crowd at Egbaston, with the overwhelming majority of the expected 18,000 spectators set to be cheering on the home side. The tourists have been delivered a huge blow coming intot his final match, with s

Review: The Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) is a truly moving Alexa speaker

This new Echo Show is a real head-turner. The smart speaker market has grown quite a bit since Amazon introduced the first Echo in late 2014. However, after introducing the first Echo Show in 2017, the evolution of smart screened devices hasn't progressed nearly so quickly. There have mostly been incremental updates to the devices put out by Amazon, Google, and others like Lenovo, adding bigger screens and (marginally) better speakers, but nothing has really moved the category forward. As it has done several times before, Amazon is poised to usher in the next paradigm shift in smart speaker tech with its latest Echo device, the Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen). I've had the pleasure of using just about every Alexa and Google Assistant-enabled smart speaker over the past few years, so I feel well-suited to write this Amazon Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen) review based on that background. I'm not going to get too far into the argument of which smart assistant is better — by now, you've

The Galaxy Watch 4 is coming soon — here's everything you need to know

Samsung's Galaxy-brain play: leaving Tizen behind for Wear OS. The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, one of the best Android smartwatches , may have only just launched in November 2020, but the latest rumors out of South Korea suggest the company may already be developing its replacement — with some big changes and upgrades in the works meant to topple Apple from its smartwatch throne. There's no confirmation whether Samsung's 2021 smartwatch will be named the "Galaxy Watch 4" or adopt a new name entirely. However, we know that this new watch will run the new version of Wear OS, which would have a big impact on app support and Android phone connectivity. It could also feature a newer-faster chipset, which could put it leagues ahead of the best Wear OS watches . Details are fairly scarce so far, but we've scrounged up every known leak about specs, design leaks, and pricing, along with everything else we know so far about the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. Samsung's bes

6 things Apple stole from Android at WWDC— and one that Google should steal

Every year, Apple and Google trade ideas for their newest versions of iOS and Android, respectively. But this year, during Apple's WWDC 2021, it seems like Apple purloined more than a few ideas that Google's integrated into Android over the last few years. Millions of iOS users won't get their hands on iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 until later this year, so until then, we don't know until then how the new features will fare in the real world. For now, here's a tongue-in-cheek look at six features Apple, um, borrowed from Android with its latest software releases. Jump to: iPad widgets and app drawer Live Text Apple Maps AR navigation iOS notifications New Siri capabilities Apple Photos Bonus: What Google needs to steal iPad widgets and app drawer iPad OS 15 introduced two big new updates for the iPad home screen today: widgets and the App Library. If you think this sounds awfully familiar, there's a good reason for that. 2020's iOS 14 introduced both