Pixel 6 debuting Gboard’s advanced ‘Assistant voice typing’

From November of last year to the first few months of 2021, Gboard tested “enhanced voice typing” on Pixel phones with the new Google Assistant. It was a rather wide beta that fulfilled the promise of what was shown off at I/O 2019. The capability was unceremoniously pulled, but “Assistant voice typing” looks to be finally launching with the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.

For several months, “Enhanced voice typing” could be enabled by most Gboard beta users with a Pixel 4 or later. It was better than “Faster voice typing” and leveraged the NGA light bar as a visual indicator as you spoke, while you were able to “Save time typing” with a “Clear” command to quickly delete. 

When the feature was pulled from Gboard, development on it was moved directly into the Google app. Functionality matches what was demoed at I/O 2019, with the voice typing experience aware of app context. For example, in addition to transcribing the email body, you can enter recipients and the subject line without ever having to interact with the screen.

<string name=”assistant_keyboard_learning_center_entry_set_recipient_description”>Add a contact youu2019d like to send your email to</string>

<string name=”assistant_keyboard_learning_center_entry_add_cc_description”>Add a contact to Cc on your email</string>

<string name=”assistant_keyboard_learning_center_entry_set_subject_description”>Add a subject to your email</string>

Users can also edit text that they’ve entered and insert emoji:

<string name=”assistant_keyboard_announce_command_execution_remove_current_oration”>Removed dictated text.</string>

<string name=”assistant_keyboard_announce_command_execution_remove_last_sentence”>Removed last sentence.</string>

<string name=”assistant_keyboard_announce_command_execution_remove_last_word”>Removed last word.</string>

<string name=”assistant_keyboard_announce_command_execution_remove_selected_text”>Removed selected text.</string>

This capability was enabled (by spoofing a device to appear as a Pixel 6) today by the “Google News” channel on Telegram (via XDA) to provide a look at the UI. The key change to the existing Material You design is the microphone icon in the top-right corner. It’s placed in a circle where a four-color ring acts as a visual indicator when you talk. Suggestions to Say “Clear” or “Undo” appear in the center strip with a wavy underline. 

Assistant voice typing can be launched on the Pixel 6 with “Hey Google, type,” while double-tapping the microphone will “continue voice typing until you tap it again, close the keyboard, or say Stop.”

<string name=”assistant_keyboard_education_tip_text”>Say &amp;#8220;Hey Google, type&amp;#8221; to start &lt;br&gt;Assistant voice typing</string>

It remains to be seen whether other Pixel phones will get this experience. It could be optimized to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro’s Tensor chip, but many users earlier this year clearly experienced something similar. 

Dylan Roussel contributed to this article

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