Google Assistant is a smart service that is Google’s response to Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri. Though, so far, the technology will be officially rolled out only to the recently unveiled Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones of Google.
Luckily, for Android smartphone users who really want to have Google Assistant on their devices, there is a pair of ways to do so. Unfortunately, one method will require the smartphone to be rooted, along with a bit of information on hacking and programming for both ways.
The methods are being discussed in a thread on the XDA Developers forum, with the specifications for the processes being an Android smartphone running on Android 7.0 Nougat or higher, the latest version of the Google app at 126.96.36.199 or following, and tweaks to be made to the build.prop file.
Basically, what the two procedures will do is edit the build.prop file so that the Android smartphone will be seen by apps as a Pixel XL. This will permit Google Assistant to be installed in the device.
Before starting the procedure, it is highly recommended that users must first make a backup of their Android smartphone. In addition, users attempting the methods should follow the instructions and have the very slightest an inkling of what is being done, as a wrong move could lead to a bricked device.
Method to enable Google Assistant :
Process 1: Manual Editing
The first approach, which works on rooted smartphones, will require users to use a file explorer to locate the build.prop file under the Root/System directory. Users will then have to watch for the “ro.product.model” and “ro.opa.eligible_device” values, and replace them by “ro.product.model=Pixel XL” and “ro.opa.eligible_device=true”. If the conditions are not present, users can easily add them.
Upon making the change, users should later save the file, reboot their device, and open the Settings menu and then the Apps menu. The data and the cache of the Google app should be cleared, and once it reloads, it will possess Google Assistant built in.
Process 2: Flashable Image
The second method will jump the manual editing of the build.prop file and will work with non-rooted smartphones. However, the device should hold its bootloader unlocked, which is not the same as the rooting but will still entail a bit of technical information.
On the XDA Developers forum thread, a connection to flashable ZIPs has remained posted. Users can download and install these files by a custom recovery image or the built-in fast boot of smartphones.
However, it should be seen that there are many reported problems with the process, likely due to build.prop files which are mismatched.
In addition to many records on the second process not working, changing the design of an Android smartphone into a Pixel XL could be a problem for devices that are not made by Google, as the type of the device is managed in the apps and updates that pass over Google Play. Owners of Google’s Nexus devices, however, should not have such a problem.