22 worthwhile ways to use Google Assistant on a Chromebook

If you’ve blinked at any point in the past few months, I hate to tell ya, but you’ve probably missed something significant with the Google Assistant.

Every few weeks, it seems, Assistant’s either showing up on some new sort of device or expanding what it’s able to accomplish. And really, it’s no surprise: Assistant, as we’ve discussed approximately 72 gazillion times before, is increasingly the focus of almost everything Google does these days — and for good reason.

As a human mammal who relies on plastic and glass gadgets to get things accomplished, of course, the most important thing to know is how you can take advantage of Assistant’s latest and greatest capabilities. And if you’ve got a Chromebook, my goodness, do you have some intriguing new options to consider.

Here are some of the most useful Chromebook-specific Assistant commands I’ve encountered.

(Assistant is available on most current Chrome OS devices as of this fall. You can confirm it’s activated on your Chromebook by going into the Search and Assistant section of the system settings, clicking the line labeled “Google Assistant,” and then making sure the toggle at the top of that screen is lit up. While you’re there, you might also want to activate the voice activation option — which’ll allow you to summon your Assistant simply by saying “OK Google” or “Hey Google” — and then set the “Preferred input” setting to voice, too, if you plan to interact with Assistant mostly by speaking. You can also always open Assistant by hitting your Launcher or Search key and the “a” key together or by hitting your dedicated Assistant key, if you’ve got a Pixelbook or Pixel Slate.)

1. Start new drafts in a snap by calling for Assistant on Chrome OS and then telling it to create a new document, spreadsheet, or presentation. You’ll be transported to a blank slate in the appropriate Google service faster than you can say “Docs, crocks, faux hawks” (which, if we’re being completely honest with each other, is a pretty strange thing to say).

2. Find files in Drive without any fuss by asking Assistant for whatever you need: Open my monthly analysis spreadsheet, open my legume comparison document, and so on.

3. Control your calendar without lifting a finger by asking your Chromebook’s Assistant what’s next on my calendar — or even for something more specific, like: What’s on my agenda for Thursday?

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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