Ready to throw your Google Home in the garbage disposal for not giving you directions to the restaurant where it’s also refusing to book you reservations? Confused as to why Allo is straight up ignoring your polite requests look up calendar events? Wonder no more, for Lifehacker has bestowed upon us a guide to Google Assistant, the somewhat finicky voice assistant featured across Google’s products.
See, although Google has the leading edge when it comes to search engine magic, they’re not totally on top of the consistency thing. Google Assistant doesn’t work the same for Google Home as it does for the Allo app, Pixel phones, or older phones.
We’re gonna need some duck tape
Some commands lacking from Allo make sense because it’s a messaging app featuring Google Assistant, but isn’t an assistant in itself. For example, you can’t manage your shopping list or look up calendar events in Allo because the app isn’t designed to do those things. Likewise, Google Home won’t make calls because it’s not a phone.
For the most part, all of Google’s devices provide the same services. Commands that work across the board include getting movie showtimes, setting alarms and timers, translating languages, converting measurements, and other basic functions like search.
But there are a few discrepancies. None of Google’s newer offerings allow song identification, which is not only surprising, but also unfortunate.
What’s the point of having an omniscient assistant if it draws the line of all-knowingness at music?
Other surprises in store
Other not fun surprises include Google Home’s inability to set reminders or create events for you. You can look up events that already exist within the calendar, but Google Assistant is going to take an early lunch break if you want it to schedule something new.
The Pixel phone seems to be Google Assistant’s closest friend. The only time Assistant turns its back is if you want to identify songs, subscribe to searches, or control Chromecast. So if you want to pause your Breaking Bad binge while you run to the bathroom, you’ll have to shout at your Google Home and hope it hears over your Pixel, because Pixel doesn’t have those verbal permissions yet.
Google is pretty set to take over the world, so I assume they’ll standardize Google Assistant’s features soon enough.
In the meantime, stop asking Google Home to make a “note to self.” It doesn’t feel like it right now.