Software

How to use the Explore feature on Google Assistant

If you're finding your usage of Google Assistant is somewhat limited, Jack Wallen shows you how you can easily expand your understanding of what this powerful tool can do for you.

Google Assistant has quickly become one of the most powerful and versatile digital assistants on the market. No matter what your need, it seems Assistant can help you, but with all that power comes a need to know how to harness it. You might have only just opened up Google Assistant on your Android device (remember, you can now say "Hey Google" and not just "OK Google") and kicked the tires of the tool. Chances are you've run through a few simple queries and had some outstanding results.

  • Hey Google, what's the weather?
  • Hey Google, show me nearby record stores.
  • Hey Google, call work.

You get the idea. Thing is, there's quite a lot more that Google Assistant can do. In fact, it seems with every new update, Google Assistant has a few more tricks up its sleeve. Because of this, how do you know exactly what types of things Google Assistant can help you with? Believe it or not, the developers of Assistant have built a handy help feature right into the service. This feature is called Explore. With it you can find out some of the helpful things you can ask of Google Assistant, and even find out what's new and trending with Assistant. In fact, from within Explore, you can search over a million available Actions you can try with Assistant.

Enabling Google Assistant

Naturally, you must have Google Assistant enabled on your device. On the off-chance Assistant isn't turned on, let me show you how:

  1. From the App Drawer, launch the Google app
  2. From the bottom menu toolbar, tap the three horizontal lines
  3. Tap Settings
  4. Under Google Assistant, tap Settings
  5. Under Devices, tap Phone
  6. Tap to enable Google Assistant (Figure A)

Figure A

Figure A

Enabling Google Assistant on an Essential PH-1, running Android 8.1.

Using Explore

Now that you have Assistant enabled, how do you get to the Explore feature? That's simple. Do the following:

  1. Open the Google app
  2. Tap the Menu button on the bottom toolbar
  3. Tap Settings
  4. Under Google Assistant, tap Explore

You should now see a Google Assistant screen that includes a number of actions (Figure B). You can either tap one of the presented suggestions or type a string in the search bar to find any related actions.

Figure B

Figure B

The Google Assistant Explore feature.

Under the WHAT'S NEW section, you can see entries for some of the newest actions available for Google Assistant. These change regularly, so there's always something new to learn. Tap on one of those actions to see how it works. Each action will function differently. Once you understand how that action works, you can use it directly from within Google Assistant, without having to first open Explore.

Expanding your Assistant

Making regular use of Explore is a great way to stay on top of what Google Assistant can do for you. Check this tool regularly and learn all the new ways Assistant can help make your life easier.

Also See

assistanthero.jpg
Image: Jack Wallen

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox