Google Assistant arrives on iPad

Google Assistant is launching today on iPad, allowing customers to control their smart home, make calls, send texts, set reminders and more, from their Apple tablet. The smart assistant was first launched on iOS at Google I/O 2017, following its earlier introduction on Android devices, led by Google’s Pixel phone.

At the time, however, it had only been available in English. Today, it’s offered on iOS in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil) and Spanish, Google notes.

The arrival on iPad offers a similar experience as on iPhone, the only real difference being the larger screen and support for iPad-only features, like multitasking with a split screen.

While there’s a lot of talk of the growing traction of smart speakers, like Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple’s HomePod, voice assistants have the potential for even broader reach by way of mobile devices. That’s why it’s critical for apps like Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa app to support all platforms, and not just their own hardware — like Android devices or Fire tablets.

We’ve seen the iPad, in particular, receiving attention on this front in recent days.

In fact, only yesterday, Amazon announced its Alexa app for tablets, including iPad, was being updated to support Alexa calling and messaging features which route communications through the Alexa platform.

Of course, neither the Alexa app nor Google Assistant are as accessible on iOS devices like iPad, compared with Siri, which can be activated with a press of a button or the voice command, “Hey Siri.”

That said, for those who prefer Google’s services on Apple hardware, the launch on iPad will be welcomed.

When you ask Google Assistant to text or call a friend, it will pull that information from your iOS Address Book, after you authorize it to do so. It also can help you compose emails, set reminders and calendar events, play music, help you navigation, answer questions, cast to your TV and control connected smart home devices, among other things.

The new app also will take advantage of multitasking on iPad with iOS 11, allowing you to chat with the assistant while performing another task in the other window, like checking your calendar or planning a trip, Google says. The app works in either portrait or landscape mode, too.

The iPad app is available today on Apple’s App Store.