The new Google Assistant doesn't support button navigation, to the dismay of users

Google Assistant
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The new Google Pixel 4 and Google Pixel 4 XL brought with them a new and improved version of Google Assistant. The updated app includes some welcome additions, such as a smarter, pared-down look and improved voice recognition, but not every change has been warmly received.

Google has also decided to abandon the three-button interface from previous versions of Assistant and replace it with gesture controls – and not everyone is happy about it.

A new Google support document explains that although three-button navigation is still available in Android 10 (and can be activated through System > Gestures > System navigation), if you select it, you won't be able to use the new Assistant.

As Android Police notes, the new gestures may prove tricky for users with limited mobility, who would find Google Assistant particularly useful, and reception from the Reddit Android community has been mixed to say the least.

Swipes and gripes

Google has tried to force gesture controls on users before, to widespread annoyance. When the Android 10 beta arrived in August, many members of the Android community were dismayed by its new gesture navigation, which uses swipes in place of button presses.

Testers' main complaint involved the back gesture – a swipe from either the right or left edge of the screen. Many third-party apps already use that gesture for other functions, such as accessing menus, so having it taken over by the operating system presented a real problem.

Google responded to the backlash by arguing that gestures are more natural and make navigating with one hand easier, but eventually caved and made buttons available as an option when the new OS launched.

It's possible that it will change its mind about Google Assistant as well, particularly as it starts to roll out to older handsets. Fingers crossed.

Via Android Police

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)