We are so used to personal assistants, that we can’t imagine our lives without them anymore. They are always there and always listening, eager to provide help at work, at your daily commute or when you simply want to order a pizza. They can even give you a laugh or two if you ask. The ecosystem is steadily growing too: Cortana lives on 'windowphones' and Win 10 PC’s – Siri works perfectly both on iPhones and Macs. Now it’s time for Google Assistant to make a transition. Sure, we already have standalone devices – like Google Home – but Google aims higher. They’ve released an SDK for independent developers that can make GA run on virtually everything. Well, meet AutoVoice Chrome extension, the first attempt to run Google Assistant on both Windows and iOS powered PCs.
The Google Chrome extension comes from João Dias, a developer famous for his AutoVoice and AutoRemote android apps. The official site of the developer provides detailed instruction on how to set it up and get it running, but be prepared to fiddle with the command lines though. It is a two step process – you’ll have to download the Assistant for PCs first, and then connect it to AutoVoice. An experienced user should have no problems with that. The end result, however, is far from perfect, well, at least for now. I’ve spent an evening playing with the setup and it glitched on me several times. Plus, there is virtually no UI whatsoever, so at this stage, the extension could be considered a fun experiment – nothing more. Apart from that, the Assistant works the same way it would on your smartphone or a Google Home device. You can set up any wake-up phrase you want (a feature inherited from AutoVoice), and ask GA to, say, play you an R.E.M. song or give you latest news from the New York Times. Check out the video below.
You’ll have to keep the extension running in the background at all times to get access to the feature, but it works. Obviously, such a way to power up Google Assistant is not for everyone, neither it should be. It is just a glimpse of things to come that gives you an idea of a personal, customizable cross-platform assistant that will follow you and help you out anywhere you go. The recent expansion of GA from Pixel devices to a wider range of smartphones (as long as they’re powered by Nougat or newer versions of Android) was the first step. Let’s wait and see.