Google is Adding an Assistant Button to Chrome Toolbar on Android

Google will soon add an Assistant search button to Chrome’s toolbar on Android. On phones without the Assistant, this will default to the regular voice search.

Google Chrome for Android currently has a voice search icon on the new tab page. This is not connected to the Assistant by default. There is an experimental flag to enable this connection.

Voice button in top toolbar

It is in Google’s interest to bring all the voice searches into the Assistant. A new flag that I spotted today in the Chromium code will help them get started in this direction.

Voice button in top toolbar: Enables showing the voice search button in the top toolbar”

The design document for this feature is restricted. However, the code change request has some more details:

“Adding a new optional toolbar button, VoiceToolbarButtonController.

The button will launch an Assistant voice search if OmniboxAssistantVoiceSearch is enabled and will fall back to a normal voice search otherwise.

This button is gated by the VoiceButtonInTopToolbar Feature and is disabled by default. This work is based on the Share optional button, which will take precedence if both Features are enabled.”

You’ll see only Android listed under platforms. So, this is not the Google Assistant for the web that we are waiting for.


Why is this important? The current design places the voice search only on the new tab page. With this change, you will start the voice search / Assistant icon on Chrome’s top toolbar.

The top toolbar is where the number of open tabs and your profile picture is displayed. This is a prime location.

This will translate into more attention to the Assistant, more web searches going via the Assistant.

For people using a phone which does not have the Assistant, they will also start using the voice search more, making them comfortable with voice search as and when they get a new device with Assistant.

What do you think? How big is this change according to you? Let me know in the comments section below.

Source: Chromium Gerrit.

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