Google Assistant has so many features that it can be a bit overwhelming to understand what it can do. “Snapshot” is a feature you may not have heard of, but it may be something you want to start using.
What is a snapshot of the Google Assistant?
Snapshot isn’t just for Android
The history of the Snapshot feature goes all the way back to before the existence of Google Assistant. A product called “Google Now” was the company’s “assistant” and it was all about providing you with information without your input.
The idea was that you would open Google Now and see cards with information that could be useful to you throughout the day. Your boarding pass would appear when you arrived at the airport, sports scores would appear when your favorite team was playing, upcoming calendar events would be listed, etc.
Google Now was eventually replaced by Google Assistant, and this proactive interface of information was momentarily lost. In the end, Google added it back. Initially it was called the “Today” view, but now we know it as “Snapshot”.
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Like its predecessor, Snapshot is meant to be proactive. It is highly customizable and can be linked with your other Google services. You get a “snapshot” of what is happening at that moment and what is going to happen. It is available in the Google Assistant app for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
Snapshot is not to be confused with the “Discover” feed, which is exclusively news-focused.
What does Google Assistant Snapshot do?
What can Snapshot do? Well, that’s really up to you. It’s meant to be a very personal feature. The information is organized in cards and you can customize which cards you see and what they show.
Google categorizes these cards into a few groups.
- Upcoming tasks: These cards are designed to alert you to things that are happening now (or will happen) in your future. Some examples are the weather, reminders, calendar events, bills and travel times.
- Recommendations: Cards with recommendations for things like movies and recipes.
- To travel: Cards specifically for travel-related tasks such as car reservations, currency conversions and language translations.
- Celebrations: Upcoming friends and family birthdays, anniversaries and holidays.
- Interests: Upcoming competitions and scores for your favorite teams, stock market alerts, updates on your stock portfolio, etc.
Many of these things depend on information from other Google services. For example, with Snapshot you can get upcoming bills from your Gmail, events from Google Calendar, travel times from your “Work” location in Google Maps, etc.
In addition to being able to disable all of these different cards, you can also customize how they work. You can decide which Google calendars to show, customize recipe recommendations, place pin cards at the top of the page, and more.
That’s a lot to take in, but think of Snapshot as a dashboard for anything you might find useful. Google does the job of bringing out the content for you. All you need to do is decide what you like or dislike. Ultimately, no input is required.
How to use Google Assistant Snapshot
Using Snapshot is as easy as launching Google Assistant. You just need to look for the Snapshot icon. The feature is available on iPhone, iPad and Android.
First, launch the Google Assistant app. You have a few different ways to do this on Android. You can easily launch it from the home screen icon, say “Okay Google” or swipe in from the bottom left or right corner.
Now tap on the Snapshot icon in the lower left corner. The user interface may look slightly different depending on your device.
With an iPhone or iPad, you can tap the Google Assistant app from your home screen or in the app library.
Then tap the Snapshot icon in the lower left corner.
The Snapshot view will look (mostly) the same on whatever device you use. It is all synced with your Google account.
Oddly enough, Google only allows the Android app to adjust which cards appear in the snapshot. To do this, tap the gear icon at the top of Snapshot.
Now you can enable or disable any of the cards in the list.
To adjust a map from the Snapshot view, tap the three dots icon in the corner. You may need to expand the map first. This is possible on Android, iPhone and iPad.
From there you can remove the card, go to the settings for that card, or “Add to Favorites”, which will pin the card to the top.
Snapshot can be a very powerful and useful tool if you take the time to set it up and adjust it. The more you use and tweak the Google Assistant feature, the better it shows you what you want to see.