Google Assistant is very smart and powerful, and now that it has expanded past the Pixel to Android devices running 6.0 and up as well as Android Wear 2.0 watches, more people than ever are getting a taste of what it can do. However, Assistant is truly at home when it’s housed inside of the Google Home, but having it on your smartphone really reveals some of the weaknesses of the Google Home and the Assistant itself ─ let’s take a closer look.
For instance, if you want to set a reminder Assistant on Google Home greets you with “Sorry create reminder is not yet supported.” Yet it has no issue at all completing this action on your phone.
Another prime example is adding events to your calendar. Asking Google Home again gets you the very unhelpful reply from Assistant “sorry I can’t add events to your calendar yet.” Again this is an action she has no problem with completing if on your phone.
Google Home is also useless when it comes to taking a note, even though Assistant takes your notes with ease. You are again greeted with an annoying “sorry I can’t take notes yet” phrase. You do have the option to make a grocery list that syncs to Google Keep, but not every note is a grocery list.
Last but not least my biggest complaint is that you cannot setup a custom wake word for Assistant, or assign different wake words to different devices. When “OK Google” sets off several devices at once and one of them cannot do all the actions of the other it becomes very frustrating. Google Home does use wake words that won’t set off your phone with “hey Google,” but the same cannot be said for Assistant on your phone or watch.
As I’ve pointed out it also cannot perform very simple actions like adding a reminder, calendar event, or note, all while your phone can perform all of these with ease. What makes it even worse is you receive a message on your screen that Google Home has taken over, when it really should be sitting quietly in the corner sulking and let the phone do what it is clearly incapable of. All something that could be rectified by a custom wake word or by allowing us to assign which wake word activates which device.
Getting them to work together
One messy workaround for getting them to play nicely together is to disable the microphone on Google Home when you want only your phone to respond ─ this can be done one of two ways. The first is to use the button the back of Google Home to mute the microphone, while the other is to ask Google Home to turn it off. The latter does still require you to get up and turn it back on manually with the button on the back. It would be so helpful to have the option to do this via a toggle switch in the Google Home app on the phone or to ask Assistant on the phone.
Honestly, Google Home should have never launched without these features. It makes it even more mind boggling why they are still not present when Assistant on your phone can do them. One thing is for sure, Google Home and Assistant on your phone are a bit at odds right now, and Google needs to find a way for them to play together nicely.