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Gemini on your phone but Google Assistant in your ears

In testing the Gemini app over the past week, my usage of Google Assistant through Pixel Buds Pro has skyrocketed, and I’m actually liking the balance.

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If I weren’t actively testing Gemini, Google Assistant would absolutely be the default on my daily driver. It’s ready for those that want a dedicated mobile interface for Gemini, but I primarily need a smart assistant that can quickly control my phone via voice commands. 

My workaround has been invoking Assistant via Pixel Buds Pro. My top commands are playing music and podcasts – it’s absolutely wild that Gemini cannot do that at launch – as well as smart home controls.

The touch and hold gesture to trigger Assistant is quite underrated, so tactile, and feels instantaneous. I’ve also had a fun time rediscovering what’s possible on the earbuds:

  • Traffic: How’s traffic on the way to work? 
  • Food: Are there any coffee shops nearby? 
  • Navigation: Navigate me to [airport name].
  • Reminders: Remember the door code is 1234.
  • Timers: Set a timer for 30 minutes.
  • Shopping lists: Add coffee to my shopping list.
  • Schedule: When is my next meeting?

It’s even gotten me to ask for the weather and time even though I have a multitude of other ways to access that, like my two smartwatches (though I do wear long sleeves all the time). 

Meanwhile, device control commands include: 

  • What’s the battery on my earbuds?
  • Turn off/on touch controls.
  • Turn up/down the volume: Or just saying louder/quieter when audio is already playing 

However, I can’t bring myself to send texts via voice (even in the privacy of my home) just yet from an accuracy standpoint.

We reported that Gemini is coming to Google Assistant headphones in what could be the first form factor expansion. It’s a better target than smart speakers as you have your phone to return to if something goes wrong.

I do wonder how Gemini will be optimized for the audio-only form factor. Will Google make sure verbal responses aren’t as verbose and more concise? Whatever the case, I hope Gemini on headphones is much more feature complete, if not entirely, than the initial phone launch.

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