We’ve known for a while now that Google Assistant (the company’s voice-powered AI, à la Siri or Alexa) would eventually be built right into Google Maps. They announced as much at Google I/O 2018, noting at the time that they were aiming for a summer launch.
It didn’t happen by summer, but Google says it’s happening today. An update should be rolling out shortly, enabling Assistant within Google Maps on both Android and iOS.
While it’s hitting both platforms, it’ll be a bit more capable on Android — which makes sense, of course, as Google has a whole lot more control over things on their own turf. Assistant in Google Maps on both iOS and Android will let you control navigation, reply to texts (complete with auto-punctuation, which is a neat new trick) and control music. On Android, it’ll also be able to tap in and send messages through WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Hangouts, Viber, Telegram and other third-party offerings.
While Google Assistant has been on iOS for a while, accessing it required users to go out of their way to download the app — a step not everyone would necessarily take. With this move, it’s going to be front and center in an app that millions upon millions of iOS users already use.