Pixel 4 Raise to Talk to Assistant feature to have limited availability at launch

JC Torres - Oct 6, 2019, 6:45 pm CDT
Pixel 4 Raise to Talk to Assistant feature to have limited availability at launch

In the wake of Microsoft’s surprise Android phone announcement, Google will be launching its take on what an Android smartphone should be. Almost everything about the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL has been leaked already but those mostly focused on the hardware side of things. Software features are now starting to also come to light and one of the headlining features will unsurprisingly be Google Assistant. Coming along with “The New Assistant” is a new gesture that will make it more natural to call on the Assistant. Also unsurprisingly, it will not be available for all Pixel 4 owners on day one.

At its I/O developer conference a few months back, Google revealed the next evolution of Google Assistant, simply called the New Assistant. That primarily focused on optimizing the Assistant’s performance by reducing its memory footprint and even keeping some things on-device. Apparently there’s one more feature coming but it’s going to be a Pixel 4 exclusive.

9to5Google reports on a “raise to talk” feature that is similar to the raise to wake motion gesture found on some smartphones. This promises an almost instantaneous way to trigger Google Assistant than saying the “Hey Google” phrase. It’s also easier and probably more intuitive than squeezing the sides of the phone.

Users will have to speak immediately after raising the phone as the Pixel 4 will ignore the gesture otherwise. This is to prevent accidentally triggering Google Assistant whenever one lifts up the phone. And to further prevent sending such accidental triggers to Google, voice recognition is promised to happen on-device only, part of the New Assistant’s offline features.

In addition to being a Pixel 4 exclusive, this new raise to talk feature is believed to launch first in the US followed by the UK, Canada, and Singapore “soon”. Hopefully it won’t be limited for long, especially considering it requires no special hardware to function, and definitely not one that needs special certification per country.

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