Google Assistant - @Google, please help!

Hello Google,

 

do you use Google Assistant or Android Auto once in a while? I don't think you do. Otherwise it wouldn't be in the state it is in. It is frustrating. I hate to say it, but in everyday usage, Siri became more helpful. Siri, the potato of voice assistants.

 

I had GAssistant running on an Samsung Galaxy S8, where I murdered Bixby with a hack and replaced it with Assistant. Every time it wouldn't work properly, I said "It's because of the hack".

Then I switched to a Huawei P20. Less absurd manufacturer software but still enough bloatware. And again, when Assistant misbehaved, I blamed it on Huaweis bad decisions.

So with the Pixel 3 being available, I bought a Pixel 3 XL. And boy, it is one great phone. But Assistant stayed the same.

In addition to the Pixel, my kitchen is equipped with a Google Home mini.

 

And this is where it all starts. My Pixel listens to "OK Google", the home mini to "Hey Google" and "Ok, Google". So imagine me standing in my kitchen saying "OK Google, play Pocket Casts". In 99% of times, the Home Mini trigger and tells me there is no such thing.

In the other 1% the Pixel responds. In 33% of this 1% it actually opens Pocket Casts and starts playing. In the second 33% it opens Spotify and plays something that is somewhat close to the words "Pocket Casts" in the last 34% it tells me it has no clue what I am talking about.

 

One thing Assistant should be excellent at is setting timers and alarms. So: Locked phone "OK Google, set a timer to 10 minutes". The screen lights up, text appears, "Alright, 10 minutes. Starting now". And it never starts. Same goes for Alarms. As soon as my phone is unlocked it works just fine. That defeats the whole purpose.

 

Apart from that, I use assistant a lot to send messages, also when I am at home. Maybe because I am cooking or whatever. So "OK Google, new message to X", it should answer with "Sure, do you want to use text message, Whatsapp or Telegram" (in al honesty, it should remember that the last 3454765 times I chose Telegram and use it as a default from there but well) but instead of reading the answer it shows it on screen and I have to tap one option. The whole point why I talked to it, is because my hands aver covered in some edible goo that I am currently cooking. For Sundars sake, it drives me nuts.

 

Luckily it knows who my wife is, because if I send a message to a friend called Rudolf Whatshisname, It asks me "You have two entries, one called Rudolf Whatshisname and one called Rudi Whatshisname, which one do you want to use?" "Rudolf Whatshisname" "Sorry, you have two contacts with that name, one called Rudolf Whatshisname and one called Rudi Whatshisname, which one do you want to use?" and until I say "The first one" I am called in an infinite loop. Later I wanted to remove "Rudi" but my stock contacts app doesn't have an entry named "Rudi". I have no clue where that comes from and at this point I am too afraid to ask.

 

Let's take writing messages to a place where I am unable to use the screen: the car. My Pixel is connected to my car via Android Auto. So again, "Send a message to my wife", "Text message, Whatsapp or Telegram?" "Telegram" "Whats the message?" <dictating the message> "Alright, your message is X. Do you want me to send it or do you want to change it?" "Send it" "Your message has been sent".

Excellent. Almost. In about 60% of the cases (no matter if I use Telegram or Whatsapp) the message is never sent. It doesn't show up as unsent in the messenger of choice but sever arrives there in the first place. First I blamed it on Telegram, then I realized the same happens in Whatsapp. The only common denominator is Google Assistant.

This if far worse than annoying. I actually ran into issues due to this since I didn't send messages that I had checked as sent in my mind.

 

And then there is Android Auto itself. Oh well, in general it is a much better concept that Apple Carplay in my eyes but it is laggy as hell, often parts of it don't respond any more (most of the time, the "next direction" on the start page, doesn't jump back to maps, the maps button at the bottom does).

When invoking Assistant inside Android Auto, sometimes, the voice bar doesn't show up at all, but recognition starts. Sometimes recognition also doesn't start.

Switching from e.g. Maps to Music takes forever. Before I blamed it on Samsungs and Huaweis bloatware slowing down the system. Now I am using your 1000€ top of the line, vanilla, flagship phone with official Google software.

 

I know this should be a lot of bug tickets that I open in the "Android Auto/Assistant" section of your bug tracker. I looked for a way to open tickets. The only thing I find is "Tell us how you like Assistant/Android Auto". Here I am. I hate it. It could be so great. 

It is so much smarter than Alexa and Siri, but fails miserably at a lot of basics. Stuff you should encounter every day if you just used it like your customers do.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Bastian