Outside of the Allo app and the Google Home speaker, the Google Assistant was exclusive to Pixel phones. The company however recently decided to make it available on all smartphones running Android Marshmallow and up. While the fine print didn’t say that tablets would be getting support, users assumed that any device running on Android Marshmallow and upwards with Google Play Services should be able to get Assistant. However, Google has now confirmed that tablets won’t be getting Google Assistant, and the support is only exclusive to phones. Furthermore, a separate report claims that Google Assistant is now serving ads, and one such instance was found on Google Home where it randomly spoke about the movie Beauty and the Beast out of context while narrating the day’s summary.
In a statement to Android Police, Google said that it will not roll out Assistant support to tablets. “The Assistant will be available on Android Marshmallow and Nougat phones with Google Play services, this does not include tablets,” the statement explicitly reads. The motive behind Google holding back support for tablets is not clear as of now, but it could just be a marketing gimmick. The company could be launching a tablet with Assistant support, and may look to do a wider rollout post the launch of the tablet. In any case, this is all speculation and the real reason behind it is unknown.
Separately, Assistant on Google Home is reportedly promoting advertisements while narrating the day’s summary – a feature that is very popular with Assistant. A Twitter user going by the name brysonmeunier tweeted a video of Google Home pushing a Beauty and Beast ad in the middle of narrating his day’s summary. Google claims that it wasn’t meant to be an ad, but can see why it seems like that. “This wasn’t intended to be an ad. What’s circulating online was a part of our My Day feature, where after providing helpful information about your day, we sometimes call out timely content. We’re continuing to experiment with new ways to surface unique content for users and we could have done better in this case,” the company told 9to5Google in a statement.
Apart from the Twitter user, many others also heard the same movie announcement on Google Home and their Pixel phones as well. Calling out timely content without the user’s permission is still quite invasive and unwanted, and still hedges around the grey area of advertising. Let’s hope that such unwanted content doesn’t crop up more and more on Google Home.