An activation phrase, like "OK Google," "Hey Siri," or "shut the hell up Bixby," has been a core element of the digital assistant ever since Google started this stuff up years ago. But soon it might not be necessary, at least for specific interactions where it makes sense. A recent app teardown indicates that Google is working on dynamically listening for commands based on recent events, doing away with the need for the precursor command.
XDA-Developers spotted several strings for a feature deliciously codenamed "guacamole." We've seen this feature before: it's designed to allow your phone to skip activation for some relevant tasks, like Google-powered smart speakers have done for a while. The gist is that, when trigger events occur, Google Assistant will immediately start listening for voice commands without waiting for the "hey Google" phrase. Three such events were demonstrated that make a lot of sense: an incoming call, an activated alarm, and a timer reaching zero. For each one you could simply reply naturally ("answer" or "decline" for the call) and get the immediate action.
The post also outlined another new Assistant feature, dynamic shortcuts. These are instantly-appearing shortcuts in response to usual and predictable interactions, such as typing out the start of an email. Dynamic shortcuts are already available as an option for app developers, but Google announced at this year's I/O that more complex, contextual shortcuts would soon be appearing via Assistant.
Neither of the features outlined are live as of the latest version of the Google app, but that's not uncommon — Google developers often lay the groundwork for upcoming features weeks or months ahead of time.