The rise of generative AI applications like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Microsoft’s Copilot have made existing standard AI voice assistants like Siri and Google Assistant feel obsolete. Where advanced chatbots can hold human-like conversations, respond to queries on multiple topics, and can now even pull real-time information from the Internet, AI assistants on phones can do limited tasks. The ChatGPT app on both iOS and Android goes a long way in substituting the default assistant on the device. But now, OpenAI’s wildly successful chatbot, could likely properly replace Google Assistant on Android smartphones.
A report by Android Authority says that a code within the latest version of the ChatGPT Android app suggests that it could be set as the default assistant on an Android device..
According to the report, ChatGPT version 1.2023.352, which released last month, included a new activity named ‘com.openai.voice.assistant.AssistantActivity.’ The activity remains disabled by default, but can be manually enabled and launched. Once launched, it shows up on the device screen as an overlay with the same animation as ChatGPT app’s voice chat mode, the report claims. “This overlay appears over other apps and doesn’t take up the entire screen like the in-app voice chat mode. So, presumably, you could talk to ChatGPT from any screen by invoking this assistant,” it adds.
It’s clear, however, that assistant mode is a work in progress. The animation that plays when launching the activity reportedly doesn’t finish and the activity shuts down before you can interact with the chatbot. The report also says that the code required for the ChatGPT app to work as a “default digital assistant app” exists only partially. The ChatGPT app also seems to be missing necessary declarations and metadata tags that would allow it to be set as the default assistant on a device.
The AI assistant wars on mobile phones are about to kick off, with Google Assistant and Siri scrambling to catch up to modern chatbots. The ChatGPT app rolled out its voice chat feature for all free users on Android and iOS in November, effectively allowing the app to act as a voice assistant. Bear in mind, however, that free ChatGPT users cannot access real-time information from the Web on the app, so you can’t ask the chatbot about the latest sports scores or the weather forecast in your city, for example. You can, however, do that on the GPT-4 powered Bing app or the new standalone Copilot app from Microsoft, which launched on both Android and iOS last week.
While Android users don’t yet have a way to bring up the ChatGPT app easily with a gesture, like they would bring up the Google Assistant, iPhone 15 Pro users can simply bind the app with the dedicated Action Button, to bring it up and start conversing with the press of a single button. Google, meanwhile, is hard at work to bring Bard, its own generative AI chatbot, to Google Assistant. The company also recently announced Gemini, its most powerful AI model to date that would compete with OpenAI’s GPT-4 model.
Apple, on the other hand, seems to the one lagging behind in the AI assistant race. The iPhone maker is reportedly working on an AI-infused iOS 18 that will likely power its next lineup of smartphones. The default voice assistant on the upcoming iPhone 16 is said to get a major AI update, with the Siri team reportedly rejigged in Q3 2023 to work on including large language models (LLMs) and artificial intelligence-generated content (AIGC).
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