Google has inadvertently pushed-out a new update to its 7.0 Android software
It’s very likely that Android users will begin to see Google Assistant start to pop-up on new devices beyond Google’s own Pixel and Pixel XL.
And the change could be coming much sooner than previously thought.
According to 9To5Google, Google has inadvertently pushed-out an alpha release of its Android search app to beta testers, which allows users to enable Google Assistant support on non-Pixel hardware for the first time. Unfortunately, the updated Android search app isn’t working for everyone on the beta program.
But those who have managed to get the alpha version of the Google app working have reported success running Google Assistant on a portfolio of difference devices.
Notably, the availability appears to range from the Nexus 6P to the Alcatel Idol 4, and many other phones.
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Loading version 6.13 for the first time, beta users have reported being greeted with this message – “New! You just got the Google Assistant”
From then onwards, just like the Google Pixel and Pixel XL, tapping and holding on the on-screen Home Button will launch the “Hi, how can I help?” prompt.
The alpha version of the Google search app is available online for those who want to sideload the software.
However, users should be aware that the app is buggy, with frequent crashes and the Feed cards not loading until the app is stopped, technology blog 9To5Google has reported.
Since the software isn’t even in beta yet, it’s likely going to be a while before every Android Nougat user is able to run the Google Assistant.
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However, the very fact that Assistant support is being broaden at all shows Google clearly wants to expand the AI assistant’s horizons fairly quickly.
Google Assistant is currently available in the California-based company’s latest messaging suite, Google Allo.
The news comes as Google rolled-out instant tethering to smartphone users across the globe.
This means that those of us needing on-the-go internet access should never need to worry about losing your connection – although there is still a major catch.
Tethering essentially turns your smartphone into a personal internet router, allowing you to share your internet data usage with other devices via a ‘hotspot’.
The alpha release of the software can be very buggy
Google’s new feature will mean that once you’ve connected them, your devices will automatically dial in to your smartphone’s network once the hotspot is activated.
However it seems that for the moment, instant tethering is only available for a small number of devices – so many of us will miss out.
As is typical with most new Android Nougat updates, the feature is currently only available to use on Google’s own devices.
This means the Google Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, as well as the older Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P handsets and the Nexus 6 tablet.
As explained in an FAQ for the new feature, devices running Android Nougat can act as hosts for the connections, however older devices running Marshmallow can only use the shared data connections.
In order to use instant tethering, you’ll also need to make sure that any devices you want to connect to the network share the same Google account.
Then, head to the Settings menu on your device, then head to Personal.
Then, tap Google > Instant Tethering, and you’ll be able to select Provide Data Connection and set up a host device.
Once this is set up, follows the same steps but select Get Data Connection to set up a non-host phone or tablet.
From then on, these secondary devices should automatically connect when they detect the host device is nearby.