Google Assistant, the search giant's virtual assistant which is currently available for smartphones running Android 6.0 Marshmallow and above will soon be available for Android 5.0 Lollipop smartphones. Google made an announcement today on the same, and also confirmed that Android Tablets running Android 6.0 Marshmallow and Android 7.0 Nougat would get Google Assistant very soon.
Announced back alongside the first generation Pixel smartphones, Google Assistant was exclusive to Pixel devices. However, in early 2017, Google made the assistant available to all the smartphones running Android Marshmallow and above.
For Android tablets, Google is rolling out the Google Assistant to users who've set their language to English. For now, only the Android tablet users in the US will receive the feature. And for Android Lollipop smartphone users, Google is rolling out the update in two languages- English and Spanish. Android Lollipop users in the US, UK, India, Australia, Canada and Singapore, Mexico, and Spain will receive the update. If you've set the device's language to your regional language, you can change it by heading over to the Settings app.
Google might have made this move looking at the Android Lollipop distribution numbers. Recently, Google released Android distribution numbers, which shows that there are 26.3% users across the globe using Android Lollipop 5.0 and 5.1 smartphones. Android Marshmallow still leading the chart with 29.7%, followed by Android Nougat with 23.3%. Android 8.0 Oreo settled with just 0.5% share. Also, with this move, Google Assistant will now be available for 80% of Android smartphones across the world.
With the broader roll out to older versions of Android, Google is making the assistant accessible to everyone. At the same time, the tech giant might also be looking to compete with Amazon's Alexa, which is growing strength to strength with every passing day.
Google is also not holding back as it is adding new features to Google Assistant every now and then. At the recently concluded Google for India event, Google announced the Google Assistant to Reliance JioPhone, and other feature phones will also get the Assistant very soon.