Google announced Ambient Mode as a new feature for Google Assistant at IFA 2019 in September. The feature is a way for Google to make Assistant even more useful on Android devices. It essentially shows useful information right on your lock screen whenever your Android smartphone is plugged in. Think of it like this, your phone is plugged in and at around 4:00PM, it will start showing you relevant information like time to reach home.

With Assistant Ambient Mode, the idea is to show information on the lock screen that you will otherwise have to see by unlocking the device. It shows information such as time until your next meeting, your commute time and even options to turn off the lights when you are about to leave the house. The feature is almost identical to what you would get with a Google Nest Hub. The feature aims to turn even a simple smartphone into a smart display style device.

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Google Assistant Ambient Mode: All you need to know

For an Android device to support Ambient Mode, Google says it must be running Android 8.0 or later. The device must also have the latest version of Google search app installed. It is not clear which devices are supported but Google confirmed support for devices from brands like Nokia, Sony, Transsion Holdings, Xiaomi and others. We enabled this feature on Nokia 7.2 and here is how you can enable it on your device as well.

Step 1: To enable this feature, you will first need to go Settings of your Android smartphone and scroll down to Google. The feature is supported by Android smartphones from brands like Nokia, Sony, Transsion Holdings, Xiaomi and others. We enabled this feature on Nokia 7.2Go to Settings and tap on Google

Step 2: From Google contextual menu, tap on Account Services as the next step to enable ambient modeOnce in Google, select Account Services

Step 3: From Account Services, tap on Search, Assistant & Voice to change the settingsEnable Assistant Settings

Step 4: Now, click on Google Assistant from the settings interface for Search, Assistant & VoiceSettings Menu for Google Assistant

Step 5: When you click on Assistant, you will be shown settings for Assistant and supported devices. In this screen, tap on phone to see further menuSettings for Assistant-enabled devices

Step 6: In the next screen, scroll down to Personalisation and click on the toggle next to ambient mode and Photo Frame on Ambient displayEnable Ambient Mode

Google Assistant Ambient Mode: Initial Impressions

The Ambient Mode is being designed as a way towards proactive Google Assistant. In the initial few minutes with the feature, the intent becomes evident. Arvind Chandrababu, Product Manager for Google Assistant, describes it as moving from app-based way of doing things to intent-based way of doing things. In our initial test, the intent-based interface seems to work really well. It shows contextual information at a glance and in a way, helps you avoid unlocking your phone. Like Google Pixel 3, you can also make Google Photos to display pictures of your friends or family. Google Assistant was designed to help you get things done. With Ambient Mode, you can see and discover things at a glance. However, the fact that it works only while charging can be a limitation.

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