An odd new ‘Guacamole’ feature started appearing in the Google app for some users over the weekend. It changes up how the Google Assistant hotword works.
Sadly, it won’t replace the ‘Hey Google’ hotword with ‘Guacamole,’ which would have been fun. Instead, the mysterious Guacamole feature appears to allow users to issue certain Assistant commands without saying ‘Hey Google’ at all.
9to5Google, which has been tracking the feature’s development since March, reports that Guacamole allows users to stop alarms or timers by saying “stop.” Additionally, users can say “answer call” or “decline call” when their Pixel rings. These commands don’t require the ‘Hey Google’ hotword.
If that functionality sounds familiar, that’s because Google’s smart speakers and displays have offered that capability for time. At least, the speakers have supported that in English — it’s not clear if Guacamole will be similarly limited.
Regardless, Guacamole appears to be available in a limited scope, and not everyone who does have it can make it work. 9to5 reports that Guacamole only appears in the Google app beta version 12.5 on Android 11, not on the new Android 12 Developer Preview.
Guacamole’s appearance in the Google app’s settings menu appears to be a mistake. The feature was clearly still in development (The Verge notes that a link included in the Guacamole menu is an internal Google link likely used by testers) and doesn’t work for everyone who has access to it.
Google probably had plans to announce Guacamole, along with other new Assistant features, at its I/O conference in May.