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Google Assistant just quietly added a great new text messaging feature

Published Aug 5th, 2019 10:27PM EDT

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Not every update to Google’s software is a gamechanger, but some relatively small additions often end up becoming fan favorites. One such addition with the potential to excite some users began rolling out over the weekend — Google Assistant can now read messages out loud from major third-party apps. Previously, it could only read SMS messages and would skip every other unread message, but this is no longer the case.

According to Android Police, some of the apps with access to the feature include Slack, WhatsApp, and Telegram, though it appears a wide range of apps are now supported. Plus, in addition to having your messages read out loud from these apps, you can also answer them directly from Google Assistant.

If you want to test the feature for yourself, grab your Android device and say “read my messages” to Google Assistant. You will need to grant Google notification access if you have not already. Once you’ve done that, a card will appear in Assistant with the latest message from any messaging app on your device, at which point Google Assistant will read the text aloud. You can also see what app the message is coming from and who sent it.

You can then type out or dictate a response (without leaving the Assistant), send it on its way, and the notification will vanish. If there are several unread messages, the Assistant will cycle through them all, switching between messages from different apps seamlessly. But as Android Police notes, messages with mixed media won’t work.

Google has yet to officially announce or even discuss this update, but Android Police was able to use the feature on many of its devices, which makes it sound like the feature is currently rolling out to the public.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.

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