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Google Assistant can now read your WhatsApps aloud to you

Emma Sims
5 Aug 2019
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No longer confined to SMS, Google’s virtual assistant is able to reel off your third-party messages to you

Google Assistant is rolling out a handy new feature: the digital assistant is now able to read message replies on third-party apps aloud, with users also able to dictate their responses back.

The feature will roll out to non-Google apps including workplace communication platform Slack, uber private multi-platform messaging tool Telegram and billion-users-strong WhatsApp.

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It’s not a wholly unprecedented move, however; Google Assistant has been able to read your SMS communication aloud for a while. Users have long been telling the digital assistant to “read my messages,” prompting it to reel off the recipient’s texts, while fodder from the confines of Slack, Telegram and others was left untouched. 

This is no longer the case, with Google Assistant soon able to access a host of other platforms, reading users their messages and allowing for dictated replies back. For the bulk of us who use WhatsApp or other third-party sites as a quick, easy and encrypted tool for everyday exchanges, the new feature comes as a welcome addition.

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The changes were picked up by Android Police, which put the new feature to the test, noting it worked “quite well” with WhatsApp, Telegram and Slack.

One caveat is that the feature is not compatible with messages containing pictures, videos or audio notes; if you want to access these, you’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way. Meanwhile, there appears to be some – albeit limited – support for languages aside from English, although there’s nothing stopping Google from expanding the feature in the future.

The move comes amidst an exciting shakeup at Google, which is finally unveiling Project Soli’s famous Motion Sense technology, set to come to the hotly anticipated Google Pixel 4. The technology will permit users to navigate their devices hands-free via gesture alone, as well as precipitating a more seamless face unlock tool. Looks like Google is paving the way for ultimate in interaction-free smartphone usage. Watch this space.

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