Technology

Google Assistant on Android regressing to previous, non-Smart Display-inspired design


Earlier this month, a Google Assistant redesign first announced at I/O 2018 began rolling out on Android. Taking cues from Smart Displays, the Assistant became more visual, touch-friendly, and provided quick access to the Updates feed. Over the past 24 hours, a Google Assistant bug has caused this design to disappear for some users.


On several of our devices, including a Pixel 2 XL, the old Assistant interface has made a reappearance over the past day. When holding down the home button, the taller Assistant panel with larger logo returns.

Asking for the weather, searches, and other results load the older, non-full height card style, while the speech bubble style and various icons have also reverted. Swiping up no longer opens the Google Assistant’s Updates tab, but rather surfaces your query history.

This Assistant redesign is due to “nearly half of all interactions with the Assistant includ[ing] both voice and touch.” It features large dials and sliders for changing the volume and controlling smart home appliances like thermostats. Inspired by the Google Home Hub, the focus is on adding large cover images and bolded text to cards, as well as more touch-friendly buttons in line with the company’s latest look.

Other recently rolled out features, like the Google Material Theme redesign of Assistant settings, are still present.

This is a server-side bug in all likelihood, with this regression occurring on both devices running the stable version and latest Google app beta. On phones — like the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL — that launched with the new design, the latest Assistant is still available.

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