How Assistant differs on Android, Android Wear, Google Home and Allo
You can now access Google Assistant from many different places. But where and how you access Assistant will determine what you can do with it.
Taylor MartinCNET Contributor
Taylor Martin has covered technology online for over six years. He has reviewed smartphones for Pocketnow and Android Authority and loves building stuff on his YouTube channel, MOD. He has a dangerous obsession with coffee and is afraid of free time.
Assistant, the brains behind the
speaker and the virtual assistant found on Android
and watches and within
, is oddly fragmented. Unlike Alexa, which works virtually the same whether you're accessing it from an official device, third-party hardware, a DIY Alexa speaker or even the Amazon app on an iOS, Google Assistant's feature list varies based on how or with which device you use it.
Something you can do with Google Home, you might not be able to do with Assistant on your Android device. Here is how Assistant is different in all the places it's available.
What Google Assistant can do everywhere
Despite its varying list of features, Google Assistant is capable of quite a lot, regardless of how you're tapping into it. Here are some things you can do with Google Assistant, regardless of how you're accessing it:
Ask questions about almost anything
Get nutritional facts
Get news and sports updates
Get weather updates and forecasts
Find nearby businesses
The Google Home is missing some of the more phone-specific features, such as directions, making calls or sending messages. To a degree, that makes a lot of sense. But it also leaves plenty of room for improvement.
How nice would it be to be able to ask the Google Home for a restaurant recommendation and automatically have directions sent to your phone? And the Google Home seems like it would make a really great speakerphone.
Also worth mentioning is that Assistant will identify songs that are currently playing on that specific device, but not by listening Shazam style. This is somewhat odd, since it was a feature available in
that, for some reason, is missing entirely from Assistant.
Assistant baked right into Android is the most fully featured version of Google's virtual assistant. It comes with the ability to place calls, send messages, create events and reminders and get directions. But it's still missing a few things.
With an Android phone that still has Google Now alongside Assistant, you can circumvent Assistant's lack of a song identifier feature by starting a Google voice search and saying, "What song is this?" Google Now will listen to the song and identify it for you.
Assistant is available on watches that have been updated to Android Wear 2.0. While it supports most of the features found on the Android version of Assistant, some features are missing from the list.
Assistant on Android Wear can't:
Subscribe to searches
Shop with Google Express
Throw content to Cast devices
Access third-party services
Get movie show times
Create a shopping list
Allo is one of Google's many chat apps, and it's an odd place for Assistant to exist. To make matters worse, it's missing several of the features found on the Google Home or the built-in version of Assistant on Android. And it only has one function that the others do not: subscribing to daily news, poems, funny videos, fun facts and much more.