We're having trouble reproducing this particular issue, but we've been tipped off to a small pile of reports that the Google Assistant is muting itself when using some Bluetooth devices. That poses a particular problem when using the Assistant together with a Bluetooth connection in a car, with many complaining that it ruins their Android Auto experience.
Not all devices seem to be affected, we can't reproduce the issue on any of our phones or connected Bluetooth accessories. But according to a large number of reports out there, the Assistant is simultaneously muting itself when it mutes media playback to respond to queries. That can mean you don't hear a confirmation when a command is issued, and questions posed to the Assistant can't be answered. As you might imagine, this can be especially frustrating when using Android Auto over Bluetooth, where the Assistant is a primary means of interaction.
Those who are experiencing the issue seem to attribute it to a device update to Android 9 Pie, though it could just as easily be caused by something else like a Google or Play Services update. Reports for the problem seem to have started around last September or October. Affected devices include the Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Galaxy S8, Galaxy S7, and P20 Pro — likely among a much longer list.
Again, we aren't able to reproduce this particular problem, so we can't speculate as to the cause or what those who are affected may have in common, but the reports are quite widespread. (One affected user even made a video demonstrating the issue.)
Although there are well over a dozen individual threads between the Android Auto and Google Assistant help forums with over 150 replies (and likely much more than that), none of the threads have received a serious response from Google outside generic troubleshooting steps. With the issue now lasting over half a year for some, hopefully Google's apparent silence is a sign that it's hard at work fixing the problem.
- Google Product Forums (1),
- Amir Fathi