Apple has Siri, Amazon has Alexa, Microsoft has Cortana and Google has Google Assistant. One of those names is not like the other but the functionality of Google Assistant is still up there with the other personal assistant apps. Here are a few things you can do with it.
Google Assistant is available on most Android phones by holding down the home button and you can even grab it on iOS if you're that way inclined. Google have also thrown it into their wearables and Google Home, so you have plenty of options if you're looking for a little magic device to respond to your whims.
Google Assistant is adept at remembering things. Tell it "Remind me to pick up eggs" and Google Assistant will ask if you want a reminder at a certain time or when you get to the grocery store. You can even set it to remind you that magpies are swooping at a certain street, so you can remember to take a different way home.
Google Lens is a nifty little feature that can identify objects and it's built into Google Assistant. Just tap the camera icon in the bottom right and you can use your phone's camera to pick out objects for Google to identify. It did a serviceable job of working out the games in my board game collection, although when confronted by Kolejka could only ask 'is this art?'
Play Music And TV Shows
You can pair Google Assistant up with your preferred music service. Asking Google Assistant to "play a banger" started playing the band Slanger Banger. Guess there's no accounting for taste. You can be more specific, calling up artists, albums or playlists for better results. Connect Google Assistant to Netflix or Stan and you can use it to launch movies and TV shows with voice commands as well.
Explore Your Surroundings
Searching for recommendations of nearby restaurants will pull up a list of everything in the immediate area with reviews to help you make your decision. Feeling particularly lazy? Just ask for the nearest option and Google will point you there.
Check Sports Results
Sports results are available on Google which means it's easy to find out how your team did on the weekend. That is, unless you're a poor sod like me and support the Brisbane Lions in which case you have a 50/50 chance of getting results for the Detroit Lions instead. You can ask when your team will play next and Google will tell you the time, location and opponent too.
Send A Text
Using voice recognition to send text messages still feels more like a parlour trick than a useful feature. Still, if you can't use your hands and don't want to make a phone call it's all too easy to tell Google Assistant to text someone. It'll then dictate your message and confirm it, offering you a chance to edit it before sending.
A phone isn't a real phone unless you can play Snake on it. Google Assistant lets you play a swipe-controlled version of Snake, alongside a range of other options from trivia to tic tac toe just by telling it "play a game."