Google's Assistant may soon add the 'Lift to Talk' feature
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Google referenced a whole palette of new "helpful" features for its Assistant at its I/O and Pixel events this year. Lift to Talk was just one of them, and, like many, sounds perfectly reasonable in presentation: the user raises their device to their mouth, and the voice-controlled AI is there instantaneously to fulfil whatever request they have. Then again, the Mountain View company has been relatively taciturn on this particular new feature since.
Now, however, there is some evidence that its developers may be preparing it for a future stable update. Distinct references to "Lift to Talk" have reportedly been discovered while tearing down the latest version of the Google app (10.83). Consequently, Mishaal Rahman of XDA claims to have gotten it working to some degree on his new Pixel phone.
However, this new potential development in virtual assistance may not be fully baked as yet. Rahman has noted that Assistant seems remarkably picky in terms of the movements involved in the proper activation of Lift to Talk. The user seems to need to lift the device in question up to their face in a prescribed way, or get at least 1 toast notification telling them that the app is "missing data from sensors". These components may include the accelerometer, gyroscope, body sensors and possibly other modules on top of that.
Therefore, it appears that, even if Lift to Talk was to work in even a slightly less precise manner, it has the makings of a battery killer. In other words, it may be constantly active and looking out for a device-lifting gesture that may or may not be prevalent to it.
In addition, it could negate, or at least compete unfavorably with, signature features of non-Google Android skins, most notably OxygenOS' Ambient Display. All in all, it may be just as well that its maker has been so tentative about this new Assistant setting to date.