Google Assistant isn't only good at answering your questions and orders. It also proactively sends you notifications on flights, public transport updates, packages, upcoming events, and more. To personalize which of these you receive, you usually have to head to the Google app's App info -> Notifications section. That's not very intuitive, and the amount of Assistant options there is limited. In a change that's already rolling out to first people, Google has moved the notification controls to a more prominent place right inside the Assistant's settings and has added many more granular toggles.
Left & Middle: The old interface with Email updates. Right: The new interface saying Notifications.
We've received reports of a new Notifications section in the Assistant settings that replaces the Email notifications which had only offered one single toggle for — you guessed it — emails. In the new menu, you'll see a page that lets you access the email settings of old along with a selection of new Phone-specific entries. These settings can be expanded with a tap to show more categories like Help with tasks, Tips & tricks, Subscriptions, and more. Tap any of these entries to see details and choose which updates exactly you want to receive. E.g., for Help with tasks, you can pick whether you'd like to get package delivery statuses, events, due date reminders, reservations, and more.
Assistant's extended responses feature that sends additional information to your phone after a query can be configured now, too. You can get rid of details for maps and directions, movie showtimes, sports updates, and others. If you follow any topics on Google (tap the 'plus' symbol on search results in the Google app), you can also quickly jump to the corresponding section to manage them.
Additionally, we've seen another A/B test that improves the Assistant's news section. For once, Google has improved information density and now shows more sources at a glance instead of less. The new grid interface also allows you to browse different news sections, such as U.S., World, Local, Business, Tech, and others. Instead of ticking boxes to choose which sources you want to add, you'll have to favorite them with stars now. You can also finally search for specific outlets, so you won't have to keep scrolling through the selection to find your preferred news provider.
Left: The old news selector. Right: The new grid interface.
Since the two updates are rolling out server side, there's not much you can do to speed up the process if neither have arrived on your phone so far. You could try downloading the latest Google app beta, but your mileage may vary. Sign up for it on the Play Store or download it from APK Mirror.
Rolling out widely
The redesigned notification settings first appeared in February this year, and it looks like they're now becoming widely available. Just head to your Assistant's settings and tap Notifications to see if the change is live for you, too.
- Anthony Maki,
- Nick Cipriani