The Pixel 4 series ushered in a revamped, on-device Google Assistant with faster response times and greater capabilities than before. That Assistant update also came with a refreshed design sporting a ‘light bar’ that indicates whether Assistant is listening to users.
While the revamped Assistant hasn’t come to other phones yet, 9to5Google reports that the search giant is testing a new Assistant design with the light bar on some Pixel and non-Pixel phones.
The changes appear to be mostly aesthetic and bring Assistant on other phones in-line with what the Pixel 4 is doing.
Currently, when you activate Google Assistant on an Android phone, it opens a white or grey panel (depending on if you’re in dark mode). This panel shows a control pad at the bottom with four coloured dots. These dots animate and respond to the user’s voice. Flanking the dots are shortcuts for Google Lens and keyboard entry.
Those who have the new Assistant design lose out on the central control pad. Instead, the bottom of the panel features the light bar animation from the Pixel 4. The keyboard shortcut now sits in the bottom right, just like on the Pixel 4. The bottom left corner is still the shortcut to the Assistant feed.
Users with the new design can access Google Lens from a series of small bubble-shaped buttons that appear above the light bar. These bubbles include common actions like ‘Make a phone call’ or ‘Set a timer.’
Finally, the new design includes a slightly more compact Assistant panel than before.
9to5 says that this new design does not include the extra features available in Assistant on the Pixel 4. The publication also says it saw reports of the new design on both Pixel and non-Pixel devices. However, it’s likely part of a server-side test, which means your mileage may vary.