How to activate the OK Google assistant in Windows

 
How to activate the OK Google assistant in Windows

Disappearance of OK Google in Windows

In this guide we are going to talk about the OK Google feature, its disappearance from Google Chrome, and the options we have when it comes to using our voice to browse the internet and obtain different types of information, making use of both the browser itself as well as additional tools.


OK Google is the designated voice command for the Google Assistant to make an appearance, such as Siri's “Hey Siri” or Cortana's “Hello Cortana”, among others, serving as a way to increase productivity at the time to get a quick data without having to change windows.


In October 2015, Google Chrome permanently lost the OK Google implementation in the browser, so that the option was completely removed from the browser code and cannot be unofficially reactivated.


This means that since version 46 of Google Chrome , there is no native way to use OK Google on Windows or Mac, although it can continue to be used on devices that work with Android or with Chrome OS , the two operating systems of the company that , probably for integration reasons, they have been left with this support intact today.


The reasons given for said elimination are several, among which we found a high consumption of resources for a feature that did not receive enough use to justify its presence, in addition to the fact that although we as users may not use a feature of a application, a remote attacker can use an additional component of a program to try to gain access, so it can be said that the removal of OK Google had to do with performance and security reasons.


Unofficial methods to use OK Google on Windows

For some time there was an unofficial method that, although it reaffirms Google's point regarding the reason for performance when removing OK Google from Windows , we could partially recover this functionality on Windows computers for free, or at least until a few months ago, because recently some of the components necessary for this alternative to work have become paid , or in the best of cases, they are behind a limited free trial that will force us to pay in the near future.


Thus, there are several tutorials for this alternative that, although they provide us with the option of recovering most of the functions that we had when launching a voice command "OK Google", we lost that same voice command , so that after installing a quantity of software to take into account and go through acquiring a GSuite subscription or equivalent to be able to complete the complete configuration of this external application , we would still have to look for the Python window in which this project exists to invoke the voice assistant, something we can do directly from Chrome.


Anyway, we can always follow any of these tutorials if we already have a subscription to GSuite , but for the average user, one way to have the services that this application can provide is to make use of Google Chrome's voice search.


With it we can obtain practically any data that we can find in Google, including converting units, looking for directions, distances, and even making calculations , as long as we can enter them correctly through voice commands, something that although it may be viable for short or long operations low complexity, it is not something highly recommended when entering equations.


In this guide we will teach you to use the Android version of the Google Assistant , which has the possibility of launching the voice command OK Google and receiving a response from it, so we can use the emulator as a voice assistant to which we shouldn't even look.


How to install Bluestacks on Windows?

Installing Bluestacks is very simple. We just have to go to the software's official website , which is capable of detecting the operating system found on our computer and downloading the most appropriate version for it.


As expected, for 32-bit Windows systems the 32-bit version will download, while for 64-bit Windows systems the 64-bit version will download. Last but not least, there is only one version for macOS, which is 64-bit , so there is no loss as long as we have a Mac with a 64-bit processor.


In the case of Windows, the procedure is as follows; Once the corresponding file has been downloaded from the Bluestacks website, we will proceed to open it and start the installation, at which point the wizard will download the complete emulator and proceed to install it on our disk drive.


In the event that we do not want Bluestacks to be installed in the default unit, which is the one where we have Windows installed, we will have to click on " Customize the installation ", something that will allow us to edit the installation path of the emulator in case we want to change it hard drive, something useful in cases where we have a small SSD for Windows and essential programs and we have a secondary drive for the rest of the applications.


Once the download and installation of the emulator is finished, we will find a message that asks us to log in to our Google account . This is normal and falls within Google's standards, as we cannot download applications without logging in with a company account. We just have to follow the steps on the screen, and the emulator will be registered in our account as a new smartphone.


In our case it was registered as a OnePlus 3T as the default configuration, but this can be configured later, so that, if it happens that we already have a OnePlus 3T in our possession, we can replace the name of the terminal with another profile by default or by a totally personalized one.


Install Google Assistant on Windows using Bluestacks

Once this is done, we will only have to  install the Google Assistant , which we can obtain from the  Play Store , and then we will have to follow some steps within the application, among which is to  install the Google application itself , and configure accessibility settings so the Google Assistant can do its job.


Likewise , we will have to provide permissions for access to the microphone from the Google application  - not the Google Assistant - to ensure that it can access our microphone, something that can be done permanently as long as we have the application open, so that  we will have enough control over it and we can always close the application or the complete emulator  so as not to have any type of intrusion into our privacy.


Once both applications are installed and the initial configuration has been carried out,  the Google Assistant will be able to listen and respond directly to our questions preceded by the OK Google command , as we can see once this is done. Some people will be familiar with how it works, and indeed, it is purely the Android version, so both the interface and the use of the application  is exactly the same as if it were an Android Tablet.


Configure Bluestacks for lower consumption in Windows

This section will depend largely on the equipment we have, and as in the previous section, if we already have Bluestacks installed, we will probably already have the software configured to our liking. Anyway, it must be clear that, after all, we are creating a virtual machine that, although it is extremely optimized for the purpose we want, is  still an operating system running on top of the existing operating system , something that is a task that requires certain resources, so it is a good idea to try to optimize its consumption.


If we go to the settings icon at the bottom right, we can access all the emulator settings, and although  Bluestacks hides this very well from the user , the most savvy will see that many settings depend on a restart. This, along with the loading time that Bluestacks requires when opening, are indicative that as soon as we open the application,  we are already running the Android virtual machine , something that will allow us to open games and applications more quickly.


Most of the Bluestacks default settings are correct, but some that will have to be modified will be the following:


  • Section "Engine"

Viewer

Resolution: 1280x720

  • Choose graphics mode

OpenGL

Use advanced graphics mode: No

  • GPU settings

Prefer dedicated computer graphics (NVIDIA only): Yes

  • Performance

Medium (2 CPU cores, 2048MB RAM)


As we can see, these settings may be different depending on the automatic configuration that has been applied during the installation, so it  is always advisable to look at the application settings in search of something that may be useful to us.


Last steps to use OK Google in Windows

Once these changes have been made,  we will only have to restart BlueStacks and verify that the Google Assistant is effectively working as desired , and that is, under correct operation, the assistant will be able to answer our questions by voice, thus providing us with some answers without even having to stop what we were doing, something that for some users can be extremely useful and increase their productivity , all with a consumption of about 60MB of RAM memory and a maximum of 1 CPU core  that should not weigh down the team performance in a remarkable way.


It is possible that, depending on which Windows 10 configurations,  we run into a flicker on the right side of the taskbar.  This is something that we have been able to reproduce after hibernating the computer with the assistant running, and that has been solved by  closing the Google application and reopening it.


This flickering would come from the microphone-shaped icon that appears on the taskbar indicating that  an application is using the computer's microphone , which is exactly what we want, so as we have already mentioned, a simple restart of the application Google - without even having to close the emulator - would be enough for this problem not to bother us.


Finally, we just have to check that  the performance is adequate  and that it does not pose any problem for the performance and productivity of our equipment, so that  we can now use the Google Assistant just by saying OK Google followed by what we want to ask the assistant , who will respond by voice if possible, although occasionally he will provide us with web results that may be more or less useful depending on the situation.

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