Google’s iOS app Google Assistant officially added native iPad support today, bringing the tablet’s number of major Siri competitors up to three. Microsoft released an iPad-optimized version of Cortana last month, after Amazon’s Alexa ranked third overall in iPad App Store downloads during the 2017 holiday season.
Available for free from the iOS App Store, Google Assistant version 1.2.4507 promises the “full Assistant experience on your iPad” and has an interface formatted for all iPad screens — from the 7.9-inch iPad mini series to the largest 12.9-inch iPad Pro. Like all digital assistants except Siri, the app must be manually opened on the iPad and cannot be summoned in the background as on Android devices.
When the app is open, it can listen for “Hey, Google” commands, respond to natural language inquiries, and offer personalized information based on your Google account. In addition to common AI assistant features such as current news, driving directions, and weather, over 1 million actions are available from the app and searchable via an Explore button found on the main screen. It can also control Google Home accessories, and operate on the iPad in split-screen multitasking mode with other apps. You can either type or speak requests to the Assistant, depending on your preferences.
The Google Assistant iPad update arrives after Google used the 2018 CES in Las Vegas to spotlight Assistant’s expansion onto new devices, notably multiple devices with touchscreens, in a move designed to counter the increasingly ubiquitous Alexa. Not standing still, Amazon has continued to add features to the iPad Alexa app, including free telephone calls to the U.S., Canada, and Mexico in an update released three days ago.
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