Apr 4th, 2022

Digital assistants like Google Assistant have built-in trigger phrases. This is done to prevent the assistant from accidentally activating when you don’t want it to, plus it’s also a little peace of mind knowing that it won’t activate until you explicitly call on it.

The downside to these trigger words and phrases is that it feels a bit unnatural. For example, if you were talking to someone, you wouldn’t keep saying their name at the start of every sentence, right? Google has been good about that by introducing more conversational features, and in 2021, they introduced something called “quick phrases”.

This means that for certain specific commands, users won’t need to actually say, “Hey Google” to get the digital assistant to do something, and if you’re hearing about this for the first time, then here’s what you need to know to take advantage of the feature.

Using quick phrases with Google Assistant

  1. On your Pixel smartphone, say, “Hey Google, open Assistant settings”
  2. Tap on Quick Phrases
  3. Tap on the slider to toggle on the various quick phrase scenarios that you want it enabled for

Now that you have enabled Quick Phrases, we should point out that at the moment, there seems to be only two particular instances where you can actually use it. This includes alarms/timers as well as phone calls.

For alarms and timers, instead of saying, “Hey Google, stop my alarm/timer”, you can simply say “Stop” or “Snooze” when it goes off. For phone calls, when you receive a phone call, you can say, “Answer” or “Decline” depending on whether you want to answer or decline a call.

We imagine that further down the road, Google might enable the feature for more functions, but at the moment it will be limited to these features.

Also, according to Google, it won’t be available for all languages. This includes, “English (US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, Singapore), French (France and Canada), German (Germany), Italian (Italy), Spanish (Spain, US), Japanese (Japan).”

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