The new Google Gemini app arrived on Android phones in the US last week, with support for more regions in the pipeline – and it sounds like Google is planning to bring the AI helper to Assistant-optimized headphones soon, too.
Some digging in the latest beta version of the Google app by 9to5Google has revealed a line of code that says the “Gemini mobile app is working on expanding availability to make it accessible on your headphones”.
Right now, even if you have the new Gemini app plus a pair of headphones that are optimized for Google Assistant (for example, the Google Pixel Buds Pro or Sony WF-1000XM5), you’ll still get voice help from Google’s older Assistant, not the improved Gemini.
But it seems Google will soon bring more powerful, AI-generated responses to compatible headphones with this imminent support for Gemini. This would be both a big deal and potentially a usability minefield, given Gemini’s early teething problems and the potential for longer answers.
Like Bard, Gemini lets you chat to it at length about open-ended topics (which can still contain hallucinations), and that means some answers are several paragraphs long. How this experience translates to audio remains to be seen, but it’s possible responses may be tailored for headphones.
For example, the ChatGPT app gives shorter responses if you talk to it using voice rather than text, as this helps speed up the experience and improve the conversational flow. Still, exactly when we get to experience Gemini in our headphones may depend on how quickly Google can fix its AI helper’s current bugs and limitations.
Is Gemini ready yet?
Right now, we’d still recommend sticking to Google Assistant rather than Gemini for voice interactions on your Android phone, as Google’s new helper isn’t quite ready for prime-time.
Google has now fixed the deal-breaking Gemini issue that meant you had to tap a ‘send’ arrow after every voice command when using it instead of Assistant. But a list of fixes remains, with Gemini team member Jack Krawczyk revealing on X (formerly Twitter) the things Google is still working on.
These include giving Gemini the ability to interact with the Calendar app and reminders, plus other issues like “preachy guardrails” and simple refusals to answer certain questions.
Those limitations are likely to remain Google’s priority for now, alongside rolling out the Gemini Android app to other regions like the UK and Europe, which Krawczyk states is happening “ASAP”.
Still, we’re keen to experience talking directly to Gemini through our headphones and will let you know as soon as the feature becomes officially available.