Stadia released last month with a few marquee features not yet available and listed as “coming soon.” Google Assistant for the Stadia Controller on TV is the first significant update to the underlying game-streaming platform.
Google telegraphed in preparation that on day one, Assistant would not be available. For the past two weeks, a “coming soon” message has been displayed by tapping the dedicated button on the Google Made accessory.
Google Assistant can now be set up by going to the Android and iOS settings in the Stadia app. Under “Display,” there is a new “Google Assistant” menu with “Enable Assistant button on Stadia Controllers” option. Try to close the app in Recents / Multitasking and reopening if it is not yet available. You also need to install the Google Assistant app for iOS on your iPhones.
Google Assistant actually has a range of restrictions on the Stadia Controller in “Early Access.” For starters, it only works on Chromecast-connected televisions from the home screen of the Stadia. This represents how you still find the best gaming experience on your home’s largest screen.
Google notes that “soon you will also be able to use it when playing games as well as in the Stadia app and website.” This matches how wireless Controller support— scheduled for 2020— is not yet available for both of these form factors.
In the meantime, commands are limited to casting / starting games and ask basic questions such as “what is the weather” or “roll the dice.” There is no ability to play normal music or videos. You also have the option to enable personal results for calendar or commute queries. Stadia’s Assistant will work in the middle of a game in the future and will be able to surface tips and walkthroughs on YouTube.
The actual interface for Android TV is very similar to Google Assistant. Pressing the button — you don’t need to press and hold when giving an order — slides up a gray bar with four dots from the bottom of the screen and “Hi, how can I help?” prompt.