Google Assistant ‘TNG’ bug opens keyboard on Pixel

Over the past day, Pixel owners are encountering a bug that sees Google Assistant always open keyboard input over voice entry, while those users are also seeing “TNG” at the bottom-left corner of their screen.

For those impacted, launching Assistant via the power button, corner swipe, microphone icon in the Pixel Launcher search bar, or “Hey Google” hotword always opens the keyboard. This is happening even if Assistant Settings > General > Preferred input is set to “Voice.” Swapping methods does not resolve the issue.

A number of people are encountering this problem, but not all users are affected. We haven’t been able to replicate on the Google app beta channel (version 13.33) across several accounts and Pixel phones.

For the duration of this bug, users are stuck tapping the voice microphone, which adds an extra step to the search/command process and makes Assistant decidedly not hands-free. Given that, Google is presumably working on an immediate fix, and a server-side update will hopefully resolve. We don’t recommend uninstalling updates to the Google app as those could negatively impact other Assistant features.

Meanwhile, those having this problem are also seeing a purple rectangle with the letters “TNG” in the bottom-left corner of the Assistant pane. This is equal parts reference to Star Trek: The Next Generation and how Google sometimes refers to next-generation updates to existing products. This implies people are experiencing a new Assistant as part of a premature launch and/or A/B test, but there aren’t any reports of new functionality just yet. (That said, those seeing the TNG badge should see if results and commands look different.)


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Thanks Jason

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