Google Assistant, available on Android devices, can now read texts on third-party apps, including WhatsApp, and reply to them. By orally instructing the Assistant to “read my messages”, a card pops up with the last text messages, and the Assistant reads them aloud and identifies the sender and the app they were sent on. Android Police first reported this development.

MediaNama has verified that the Assistant could read WhatsApp messages and reply to them if asked to. Android Police confirmed that this feature worked for messages shared on Slack and Telegram as well. Before this, Google Assistant could only read SMS texts and could not access plenty of incoming communication from other third-party apps. We have reached out to Google for comment and will update this story once they reply.

How the feature works

Step 1. To enable the feature, we had to first allow Assistant the permission to read all notifications including contact names and the text of messages.

Step 2. Once we gave the permission, it showed the latest WhatsApp message after we said the phrase “read my messages”. This is what Google Assistant said for the following message: “Message from Soumyarendra Barik MN on WhatsApp. Testing SMS.”

Step 3. The card that popped up with the message also allowed us to reply to the text then and there, which we could do using our voice. (NB: Please ignore our inter-office banter.)