Last week, Google started a wider roll out of Google Assistant for all Android devices running Marshmallow and Nougat. Up until this point, Google’s latest AI-powered virtual assistant was available exclusively on the Google Pixel and Pixel XL.
Google Assistant is the successor to Google Now, and while it has a promising future, it feels very limited functionality when compared to Google Now. Google Assistant is not just available on Android smartphones; it is also available on Google Home and inside Google Allo. And for some strange reason, Assistant on Google Home is capable of doing more stuff and is smarter than the version found on Android smartphones right now.
Google will eventually get around to unifying Assistant’s functionality across devices down the line, but for now, I actually prefer using Now over Assistant. The latter is simply not capable of doing so many tasks that Google Now could easily do. While Google does not provide any way to officially downgrade to Google Now from Assistant, there is a simple trick to do so. The trick, however, only works if you are fine with your system language being set to English. You can find the steps below.
Step 1: Compared to Google Now, Assistant is only available in a handful of languages for now. We will take advantage of this to restore Google Now on your Android device.
Head over to Settings -> Language & Input -> Add a language.
Step 2: Proceed to select English from the list followed by US Virgin Islands as your region. Selecting any other region will not work here.
Step 3: Now, remove the existing system language by tapping the 3-dot overflow menu button on the top-right, selecting Remove, ticking all the other system languages except English (U.S. Virgin Islands) and then pressing the trash icon located on the action bar.
It is likely that Google will fix this trick with sometime soon in the future, but at least until then, you can continue using Google Now on your Android device.
And if you have not already received Google Assistant on your Android device, there’s not much that you can do. This is a server-side rollout from Google and there is no way you can manually trigger the new virtual assistant to show up on your device.