Google Assistant “Quick phrases” feature might be just around the corner

Google Assistant “Quick phrases” feature might be just around the corner
In early September, reports came out that Google is working on a couple of improvements for the Google Assistant. One of those improvements was the so-called “Quick phrases”. Thanks to a new report from XDA-Developers, we now know that the feature could soon be arriving on Android 12.

What are Quick phrases?

Quick phrases are a new way for users to interact with and make use of the Google Assistant. Its function is to remove the need for a trigger like “Hey Google”—therefore creating a more seamless process.

For now, it seems that Quick phrases will be limited to just simple tasks. Once it is turned on, the Google Assistant will listen for any input and react accordingly to your voice commands. The feature currently only works with incoming calls and alarms or timers.

When you receive a phone call, you get a small tip below the heads-up notification letting you know you can say “Answer” or “Decline” without the need for “Hey Google”. Similarly, for alarms and timers, the assistant notifies you that you can reply with “Stop” or “Snooze”.

How to turn Quick phrases on?

To enable the feature, you go to the Google Assistant settings and tap on “Quick phrases”. Then, you can select whether you want to turn it on for either alarms and timers, incoming calls, or both.

Once you have it enabled, you will get a notification warning you that Quick phrases could result in unintentional actions.

Although to be fair, all of these risks are to be expected given the nature of this feature. I would gladly make the trade-off if it means a more hurdle-free use of Google Assistant.

Who will get Quick phrases and when?

XDA-developers got to take a look at the feature on a Pixel 3 XL running the latest Android 12 beta and version of the Google app. Unfortunately, the “learn more” link in the settings of Quick phrases does not reveal any more details about it, rather, it leads to an internal Google webpage, which nobody from the outside has access to.

Suffice to say, we don’t have any clues yet, whether this new Google Assistant feature will be coming to phones other than Google’s Pixels, or even if it will only be available on Android 12.

Quick phrases might actually prove even more useful with smart speakers, for example, since previous reports show it could work with more than just calls and alarms. Some other Quick phrases that such devices are expected to work with are:

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  • Set alarms: “Set an alarm for 7 a.m.”
  • Cancel alarms: “Cancel the alarm”
  • Show alarms: “What time is my alarm set for?”
  • Send broadcasts: “Send a broadcast”
  • Respond to calls: “Answer” & “Decline”
  • Ask about time: “What time is it?”
  • Ask about weather: “What’s the weather?”
  • Turn lights on & off: “Turn the lights on”
  • Turn lights up & down: “Increase the brightness”
  • Control volume: “Turn up the volume”
  • Pause & resume music: “Pause the music”
  • Skip tracks: “Skip this song”
  • Set timers: “Set a timer for 2 minutes”
  • Cancel timers: “Cancel the timer”
  • Pause & resume timers: “Pause the timer”
  • Reset timers: “Reset the timer”
  • Show timers: “How much time is left?”
  • Reminders: “Create a reminder”
  • Family notes: “Create a family note”

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