“Hey Google” is a phrase I say often. I’ve been using Google Assistant regularly on my phone for a while now, and although I love it, it’s still far from perfect. The software lacks a lot of features users would embrace with open arms, some of which should have been available ages ago in my opinion. Interested in hearing what they are? Read on to find out.
Hey Google, change the hotword to…
To get Assistant’s attention, you either have to say “Hey Google,” or “OK Google.” I’d love to see the option to change the hotword so I could say a word or phrase by choice to summon Assistant. I’m not alone on this, as the ability to change the hotword has been one of the most requested features by Assistant users for a while now.
'Hey Coco' has a better ring to it than 'Hey Google.'
I believe this feature would not only benefit users, but Google as well. People would likely be less hesitant to talk to their phones if they could personalize the hotword to their liking. Android has always been all about personalization, which is one of the reasons why it’s a popular as it is. By following the same recipe, Google Assistant could increase its user base.
Here’s another idea: It would be great if you could change the hotword with a voice command. Something like, “Hey Google, change the hotword to Coco.” That’s the one I’d go with, anyway.
Hey Google, just turn off the damn lights
You can’t use Google Assistant while your phone’s display is turned off. You have to unlock the phone first, otherwise, Assistant won’t do what you asked it. I hate this on so many levels.
Let me give you an example. I have a smart lamp that supports Google Assistant, meaning I can do things like turn it on, change its color, and play around with the brightness level with simple voice commands. When I go to bed at night, I’d like to turn off the lamp with a voice command while I’m already under the covers. But unfortunately, that can’t be done.
To get the job done, I’d have to get up, grab my phone from the table on the other side of the room, unlock it, say a command, and then put the phone back in its place before returning to bed. This makes it useless for me, as it’s faster and easier to just turn off the lamp manually since it’s closer to my bed than my phone.
I get why Assistant works this way. Google designed it with security in mind, preventing other people to put your phone to work by talking to it. To make sure only the owner of the phone can do that, the phone must first be unlocked. However, as long as the voice recognition tech works as it should, the chance of someone else controlling your phone with voice commands should be eliminated. Make it happen, Google! And for what it is worth, Google Assistant used to allow this, so it’s not like it’s impossible to re-enable this function.
Hey Google, show me my subscriptions
Streaming services and digital subscriptions are all the rage these days. I use quite a few of them including Tidal, Prime Video, NBA League Pass, and YNAB. These are just the standard ones. I also have a habit of trying out new services often and switching between them when I get tired of one. With that in mind, it can be hard to track all the services I pay for on a monthly basis. Here’s where Google Assistant could help.
I’d love it if I could just say something like “Hey Google, show me my subscriptions,” and Assistant would pull the data from my emails and show me everything in detail. This includes the services I’m subscribed to, monthly prices, and registration dates so I know when I’ll be charged again.
Assistant regularly pulls data from emails, especially when I comes to things like booked flights and hotels. I don’t see a reason why it couldn’t do the same for streaming and other subscription services.
Hey Google, where’s my package
I order a lot of stuff from Amazon and am constantly checking the tracking page on the retailer’s website to see exactly where my package is located. Google Assistant could really help me out with that.
The idea is to say something like “Hey Google, where’s my package located,” after which the software would show me the current location of the product I ordered along with the expected delivery date.
Right now, all that Assistant can do is pull data from an email and show you a summary of your order (item purchased, shipping address..) when you say “Hey Google, where’s my package.” To track the location of a package, you have to visit the website of either the retailer or courier.
Additionally, a great feature would be for Assistant to notify me whenever the location of the package changes. That way, I wouldn’t have to check the tracking as often as I do.
Hey Google, show me my data usage
There’s loads of information within the Android operating system that I’d like to see Assistant pull and show on command. The main one is data usage. Assistant should bring up a page showing how much data I’ve used in a given billing cycle and how much I have left when asked. The billing cycle’s end date show also be shown.
Additionally, Assistant could also bring up the following data:
- Storage: The amount of storage used and available at a given time.
- Talk time: The number of minutes used in a given billing cycle.
- Texts sent: The number of messages sent in a given billing cycle.
- Battery life: Info on how much battery there’s left based on current usage (in hours/minutes)
- Age of device: The date and year of when the phone was first activated.
Most of these things can be located in the settings of a device, which makes me think Assistant could easily pull and then show this data on request. It would save me a few taps and the frustration that comes with figuring out in which menu specific info is located in.
These are the main features I’d like to see added to Google Assistant, although a few others come to mind as well. These include the ability to turn off the notch by placing a black bar on the top of the screen and the option to change the system’s language. Which ones would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments!