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Google Assistant to arrive on more Chromebooks starting w/ Chrome OS 77

Last October, we discovered that Google intended for the new Google Assistant experience on Chrome OS to arrive on “all Chromebooks.” Eight months later, we’re finally seeing the fruit of this, as Google is enabling Assistant for all devices starting with Chrome OS 77.

The Google Assistant for Chrome OS debuted nearly two years ago on the Pixelbook, and at the time was powered by Chrome OS’ Android apps support. Last year, with the Pixel Slate, Google introduced a new Assistant experience for Chrome OS, built on web technology. This new-style Assistant is able to work on Chromebooks that couldn’t support Android apps for whatever reason.

In the months following the Pixel Slate’s launch, the Assistant somewhat rolled out to more Chrome OS devices with three Assistant-related flags in chrome://flags. Enabling these brought essentially the same Google Assistant experience seen on the Pixel Slate.

A new commit has been posted to the Chromium Gerrit source code management, which makes its intentions very clear.

assistant: enable feature by default

Digging into the code, Google is essentially changing one of those above mentioned Assistant flags in chrome://flags from “disabled by default” to “enabled by default.” As current Chrome OS Canary builds are version 77, this means the Assistant should arrive on far more Chromebooks when Chrome OS 77 reaches Stable.

However, not all people who enabled the flag for themselves were able to get the Assistant on their device. Even in my own case, enabling the relevant flags didn’t make the Assistant appear on the Lenovo Yoga Chromebook. So while this change still may not bring the Assistant to “all Chromebooks” just yet, everyone who can get the Assistant should see it, starting with Chrome OS 77.

All changes we find in source code are not finalized and are subject to change, at Google’s discretion. There are three months between now and Chrome OS 77’s September scheduled release date, which is more than enough time for Google to change its mind about rolling out the Assistant.

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Avatar for Kyle Bradshaw Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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