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How to enable Google Assistant on your Chromebook

by Dan Millward
How to enable Google Assistant on your Chromebook

Have you just updated your Chromebook to Chrome OS 77 hoping Google Assistant would be available? Well, it appears the assistant may not be available on all devices by default. However, there is no need to worry because this How-To guide will show you how to get your Google Assistant working on your Chromebook.

The first thing you need to do is to update your operating system to Chrome OS 77. This normally happens automatically but you can get access to the new operating system if you check for updates manually. If Chrome OS 77 is not yet available on your Chromebook, then there is no need to panic because it’s being rolled out in stages.

Google suggested the Google Assistant would be enabled automatically. So I updated to Chrome OS 77 today but the assistant was not activated. Unsure why this was the case for my Asus Chromebook and this may not be the case for all devices. Either way, let’s go through the process of getting Google Assistant up and running.

HOW TO CHECK IF GOOGLE ASSISTANT IS ENABLED

Once you’ve updated your Chromebook to Chrome OS 77 the first thing you’ll need to do is to check if Assistant is enabled. To do this go to your settings menu and look down the left column for ‘Search and Assistant’. If Google Assistant is not activated you’ll see ‘Search Engine’ as shown below.

If Google Assistant is not activated on your Chromebook. Search engine will show in the menu rather than Search and Assistant

If ‘Search Engine’ is showing in your settings menu, then you need to enable Google Assistant manually.

ENABLE GOOGLE ASSISTANT MANUALLY

To enable Google Assistant manually you need to change the flag settings. To do this open a Chrome browser and type the following in the address bar ‘chrome://flags‘ and then hit the return key.

type chrome://flags into the chrome address bar

What you’re now seeing is a list of experiments currently being tested to work with Chrome OS. I would not necessarily advise using any that you’re unaware of. In the search box at the top type in ‘Google Assistant’ and you should see something similar to below.

Change the drop down choice to enabled against Enable Google Assistant
Once you’ve changed to enabled a restart of your Chromebook is required

You should then see the first option as ‘Enable Google Assistant’. Change the drop-down option to the right from ‘Default’ to ‘Enabled’. Once you’ve done this at the bottom of the screen it will confirm you need to restart your Chromebook. Restart your Chromebook by pressing the button.

GOOGLE ASSISTANT IS NOW ENABLED

Once you’ve restarted your Chromebook you should be presented with a dialogue box. You should follow the instructions, as this will help you set up Google Assistant for the first time. If you’ve already used Google Assistant on another device there isn’t much you need to do during this stage, as your voice will already be trained.

If you’re anything like me as soon as the assistant was installed you probably said ‘ok Google’. If you had your Chromebook plugged into the mains you would have got a response. However, if your Chromebook was not plugged in then nothing would have happened.

To fix this you need to change the settings for Google Assistant.

CHANGING THE GOOGLE ASSISTANT SETTINGS

If you’ve followed the above instructions you should now be able to see the Google Assistant settings. You can easily check this by going to your settings menu. In the left-hand column, you should now see ‘Search and Assistant’, as shown below.

Once Google Assistant is enabled on your Chromebook the search and assistant option will be available in settings.

If you want to use Google Assistant when your Chromebook is in battery mode, you need to select this option. Click on the Search and assistant from the left menu as shown above.

You’ll then be presented with a menu to the right of this. Look for the option ‘Ok Google’. If it’s currently set to ‘On Recommended’, then your assistant will only respond if your Chromebook is plugged into the mains. Change this to ‘Always On’ to have Google Assistant work when using your Chromebooks battery.

Change the setting to Always On to use Google Assistant when your Chromebook is in battery mode.
Change to Always on to use Google Assistant in battery mode

SAY OK GOOGLE

Your Google Assistant is now set up to work whether your Chromebook is plugged into the mains or not. Obviously, you may want to watch this setting if your battery deteriorates too quickly during the day. The fact Google recommends only to use when your Chromebook is plugged in suggests your battery may take a battering from having it always available.

Now all you need to do is say ‘OK Google’ or ‘Hey Google’. When you’ve done this you’ll see the Google Assistant pop up as you can see below.

You can now ask your Google Assistant any question you can think of. There are also plenty of commands you can use with Google Assistant to make your life easier. I’ll be looking at these at a later date and keep you informed.

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