Google Assistant can now read and reply to third-party messaging apps

Google Assistant has long had the option to read your SMS messages aloud, but that hasn’t done much good if your conversations lived in third-party apps. That shouldn’t be an issue for long. Both Android Police and 91mobiles have noticed that Google is rolling out the option to read messages from non-Google apps like WhatsApp, Slack and Telegram. You can dictate or type out replies, and there appears to be limited support for languages beyond English.

Third-party messaging apps are used by billions of people around the world and texts from these apps were previously ignored if someone prompted the Google Assistant to read their messages. That is no longer the case, with the voice assistant now reading them aloud and also enabling users to reply to them instantly.

The ability can be triggered by saying “read my messages” to the Assistant. If you haven’t allowed notification access to Google, a pop up will appear asking for your permission with the following text:

“Google will be able to read all notifications, including personal information such as contact names and the text of messages you receive. It will also be able to dismiss notifications or trigger action buttons they contain. This will also give the app the ability to turn Do Not Disturb on or off and change related settings.”

Once permission is granted, the Assistant will display a card containing the last text messages and will read it aloud, including the sender name and the app it’s coming from. Users are then given an option to respond with a written reply or dictate to the Assistant. Once completed, the reply is immediately sent with the original message marked as read and its notification disappearing from the drawer.

For now, users can only make it work with texts, as messages containing any form of media like pictures, videos or audio clips aren’t accessible to the Google Assistant. For such messages, the Assistant will simply say “the message just contains an audio attachment,” for instance in the case of an audio clip, and won’t play it back

The feature isn’t available to everyone, Google is in the process of rolling out the functionality.

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