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Google Assistant gets the ability to text from a lockscreen on some phones

The new feature appears to allow texting while a phone is locked. (Source: XDA)
The new feature appears to allow texting while a phone is locked. (Source: XDA)
According to a new report, Google has released a new feature for the Assistant to a select group of users. This function allows them to compose and send texts directly from their phone's lockscreens. This sounds convenient, but also problematic from certain standpoints.

XDA contributors claim to have captured a new trick for the Assistant being developed by Google at present. It apparently involves the possibility of telling this AI-powered smart app to send texts - even when the phone in question is locked. This would expand the panel of functions that can be accessed without user authentication on Android.

This new setting has apparently been pushed to a limited number of users in what is being described as a "server-side A/B test" by the Mountain View company. It is portrayed in some screenshots that appear to have been taken from a Pixel phone. The images show what seems to be a conversation between a user and the Assistant, in which the latter indicates that it has sent a message, despite the clear appearance of a lock in the upper third of the display.

This apparent new function may be less than welcome with those concerned with on-device privacy. The ability to bypass a lockscreen to access any communication feature should be used with caution. In addition, entrusting the task of text message completion to the Assistant may imply the risk for a whole new dimension of miscommunications based on spelling or recipient errors, however potentially humorous they may be.

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The screenshots linked to the new alleged Assistant feature. (Source: XDA)
The screenshots linked to the new alleged Assistant feature. (Source: XDA)
 

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 07 > Google Assistant gets the ability to text from a lockscreen on some phones
Deirdre O Donnell, 2019-07-23 (Update: 2019-07-23)