Google Assistant has finally thrown off its Android shackles and is now available on the iPhone too.
The virtual assistant, which is a major rival to Apple’s own Siri, arrives with real weight of expectation, as well as a few cool new features which should make using Google services on an iPhone even easier than before.
Read on and we’ll tell you five things you need to know about Google Assistant for iPhone.
Google Assistant is available as a standalone app for the iPhone, rather than forming part of the standard Google Search app.
This makes it a lot easier to get hold of and play with, with would-be triallists simply having to search it out in the App Store to give it a try.
Users have to enter their Google account information first, before pressing the on-screen microphone button to give instructions. Unlike on Android, saying ‘OK Google’ will not wake up Google Assistant on the iPhone.
You can, however type in instructions if you don’t fancy talking to your iPhone in public.
2 Send messages and make calls
As with Siri, Google Assistant is able to make calls and send messages. For the latter, you read out your message, but still have to tap send or decide whether to leave it.
That’s not quite as straightforward as using Siri, largely because Apple limits how rival voice assistants can work on the iPhone.
Making calls is as simple as saying who you’d like to call, the phone doing the rest for you.
3 No alarms and no selfies, please
Once again, Apple’s limits on what rival services can do means that Google Assistant is unable to set alarms or take selfies, something which Siri does effortlessly.
That’s because these features are core to the iOS experience and Apple doesn’t want Google having access to them. However, Google’s own services work like a breeze.
While Siri uses Bing and Apple Maps, two services which are severely lacking, Google Assistant uses the Big G’s search and Google Maps to get you from A to B. Reason enough to give it a go.
4 And no third party apps...for now
At the moment, third-party apps, such as Facebook, Twitter, Uber and Lyft, don’t work with Google Assistant on the iPhone.
This is a bit of a blow when you consider Siri can hail a cab and handle your social media with aplomb.
However, Google says its Actions service will integrate with both iPhone and Android, meaning users will be able to order takeaway food, set up smart home gadgets such as lightbulbs and kitchenware and, hopefully, get a ride.
This is some way off, though, meaning for now Siri is a better bet for using third-party apps via voice control on the iPhone.
5 It's US-only
Disappointingly, Google says that Assistant for iPhone is US-only and has not shared plans for when it will get a global rollout.
Hopefully the wait be too long, especially as the virtual assistant market is booming right now.
Apple is likely to boost Siri with the iPhone 8, while Amazon’s Alexa has become ubiquitous in the home.
If you want the full Google Assistant experience here in the UK, then a new Android phone remains the best way to get it.