Google Assistant Shows Up in Pixel Launcher – Shows How Search Will Evolve
XDA-Developers has found a new launcher search bar for Pixel that replaces the microphone with the Google Assistant icon. The article concludes that, “Android P Developer Preview 5 and the official Android Pie release removed the original microphone button from the launcher’s search bar, but it seems that Google plans on bringing it back with an updated icon.”
Images from XDA-Developers shows the presence of the microphone in the launcher at the bottom of the Android P screen on Thursday, July 26th and that same day after an update it was gone. The microphone was used to activate voice search similar to what you could find through a browser. On August 19th an update showed the Google Assistant icon appear where the microphone was previously located. You can still long-press on the home button to activate Google Assistant, but it appears that Google would like all voice queries to run through Google Assistant.
Is Google Assistant the Future of Search?
There is no guarantee that the final Android P update will have Google Assistant in the launcher. However, it likely indicates direction. Google is running two voice search solutions side-by-side on Android. One is the resident voice assistant and the other is the voice search feature. Both rely on similar technology, but the former is more capable. The move to replace the microphone with the Google Assistant icon suggests that the company is planning on centralizing voice activity, including voice search, through Assistant. Since the solutions operate differently and Google Assistant can also access Actions, this change should be a catalyst for companies to consider how it should impact their voice search and Google Action strategies.