One of the many trade-offs companies face in developing voice assistants is balancing user privacy and utility. Relying on voice commands alone may be very convenient, but what happens when those commands rely on information secured behind your phone's lockscreen? Google seems to be thinking about this very problem right now, as the company tests relaxing existing Assistant lockscreen restrictions, and allowing some users to send text messages without first unlocking their phones.
Note the lock symbol at the top of the Assistant interface.
Our friends at 9to5Google were lucky enough to receive the functionality in an A/B test of Google's latest beta app, version 10.28. Usually, when you're asking the Assistant to send a message through any supported app, like Messages, WhatsApp, or Telegram, it would ask you to unlock your device first. This prompt is completely missing for 9to5Google, and text messages just go through.
When I tested this on my Pixel 3, the feature appeared to be half-working, too. While I couldn't get the Assistant to actually send a text message, it didn't ask me to unlock my phone first. Instead, it bugged out in the process and said it wouldn't quite understand me and asked me to use the keyboard instead. Even with Lock screen personal results activated, nothing changed. With this in mind, the new behavior might just be a bug in the end.