You can now try the Google Assistant on non-Pixelbook devices via Chrome OS Dev Channel
If you’re the owner of a Chromebook that isn’t the Google Pixelbook and have been jealously eyeing the premium device’s exclusive Google Assistant support, your wait is over. The latest version of Chrome OS on the Dev channel brings Assistant to the Chromebook masses.
Last month, we reported on Android Pie coming to Chrome OS along with a revamped Assistant UI. We later found out that this web-powered version of the Assistant would be coming to ‘all Chromebooks‘, including those without Android support, starting with devices on the (highly experimental) Canary channel. No longer would the Pixelbook and Pixel Slate have exclusive access to the Assistant.
Now, as noted by Chrome Unboxed, the new Assistant is rolling out to devices on the Dev update channel. It’s important to note that while the Canary channel updates nightly, its limited testing means it’s generally ill-advised for the average user. The Dev channel updates weekly and offers a taste of upcoming features without too great of a stability decrease. Dev channel is not without issues, however, and should you ever decide to switch back to Stable or Beta, your device will be wiped.
If you still wish to venture into the unstable wilds of pre-release Chrome OS, switching to Dev channel is simple. Open the settings app, click “About Chrome OS”, then “Detailed Build Information”, “Change Channel”, and finally choose Developer channel.
Once your device is updated to the latest Dev channel release, the Assistant settings are still hidden behind a flag. Open Chrome and head to “chrome://flags”. From there enter “Assistant” into the search bar, and you’ll find the flag “#enable-native-google-assistant”. Enable that flag and restart your device. After that, your Settings app will have a new option to actually enable the Google Assistant.
Not all devices on the Dev channel have received the update with Assistant yet, so be sure to leave a comment below to let us know whether or not it works on your Chromebook.