How-to: Get rid of Google Assistant and use Now on Tap instead

Don't like Google Assistant? There's a way to get around it

You probably know that Google has started rolling out the Pixel-exclusive Google Assistant for phones that are running Android 6.0 Marshmallow or Android 7.0 Nougat. Despite the amount of excitement generated by this announcement, some folks appear to be preferring Google Now or On Tap to the Google Assistant.

A pretty substantial thread has emerged on Reddit. Here a user going by Crowday asks the following question: “Anyone else feel like Google Assistant is more cumbersome than Google Now or On Tap”. He goes on to explain further:

I was pumped to get it but there isn’t really good conversation functionality, or anything more useful than its predecessor. Instead of just having Now Google something for me, Assistant tells me that it Google’d it for me and lets me press a button to see the results. It’s as if the next step is to cut out the middleman voice confirmation and extra click and rename it to something like Google Now.”

Other users have joined and listed various other shortcomings of the Google Assistant. Like the one mentioned by imsoshappy:

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I hate the lack of text search. it’s funny how it’s gotten easier and easier to make a simple search on iOS (literally a swipe away now) while it’s gotten harder on Android, the operating system of the biggest search company.

Now if you have reason to feel the same, the good news is that there’s a trick which allows you to use Now on Tap rather than the Google Assistant, if that’s your wish. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be good to go:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Scroll until you find Language & Input
  3. Tap on Languages
  4. Tap on Add a Language
  5. Most users probably have the English option enabled, but now you’ll need to pick an option where the Google Assistant is not supported like the US Virgin Islands.
  6. Just like that the Google Assistant will be replaced by Google Now on Tap

Sure, the majority of users will probably still go for the Google Assistant. But this is a nice trick to be aware of, in case you get frustrated with the Assistant for whatever reason.

P.S. The scheme above works on the Pixel and Pixel XL.

  • MeanDroid

    Delaying the inevitable… It’s kinda time waisting exercise in pointless actions

  • SOMFW

    Amazing!
    This half assed “New and improved” Google Assistant, is the worst part of the pixel.

    What Overpaid Jag-Off at Google thought it’ was an improvement should be kicked to the curb.

    No music search.
    Add to calendar, if Lucky, works 1 in 10 times.
    Have to click multiple times to get back to text input.
    The “single” best answer, in its childish material design best, is often wrong or none related. Forcing you to manually click the more answers tab. So much for handsfree!
    The now on tap integration, gives different results which are often worthless.

    The list goes on and on for what Assistant can’t do, it does worse than Google now. But that’s Google for you. One step forwards, three steps backwards!

    Until this work around was posted. Disabling Assistant, disabled the “ok Google” command system wide.
    Many thanks!

    • thereasoner

      Wow, lmao!
      You can do that stuff still, Google Now is a simple swipe to the right on your Pixel and if you want text search from the home screen search bar like before Assistant then just download it from the PlayStore. I like the transparent ICS search bar myself.

      You actually​ lose nothing with Assistant once you realize that you can still easily do everything you could do before Assistant. If anything we just gained an AI Assistant in addition to Google Now and it’s been a wonderful experience for me on my Pixel !

      • Adam Margeson

        Screen search. For apps and Fields that don’t let you easily select text, you have to manually type it into search now. Now on Tap allowed you to highlight the text on the screen and search for it.

        • thereasoner

          I just highlight whatever text I want searched on any page I’m on, like I’m going to copy/paste and then activate Assistant and I get the Now on Tap/search results by swiping up.

          • Adam Margeson

            You didn’t read what I wrote. For apps and text fields that don’t let you select text…

          • thereasoner

            Then just activate Assistant and swipe up instead of talking. The Now on Tap results are still there for the entire page then.

            Is there a specific example you can offer where selecting text is not possible? I can highlight stuff anywhere and I’m not sure how Google Now makes a difference because whether you use that or Assistant the highlighting takes place first no?

          • Adam Margeson

            With Now on Tap, it used some OCR to allow non-selectable text to be “selected” for search. You go to the screen, hold down the home button (for Tap, not Assistant), touch the “hand/touch” icon (can’t think how else to describe it). NoT shows a screenshot of that moment and allows you to tap on any text to select it, even picture text (OCR FTW). You can then copy the text, search for it or act upon it.

            Some examples of places it’s useful:
            Text messages… when there is lots of information in a single text, instead of having to copy the entire thing, paste it somewhere, cut out what you need, then paste it into the right spot
            Non-selectable text… is now selectable
            Places that Assistant doesn’t bring up any cards for what is on the screen.

            Sure, there are a few more taps involved for this than using Assistant for several situations, but the Now cards often keep up with what Assistant offers.

          • thereasoner

            Yeah, it sounds like something very few would want to do much less miss. I’d have to see a video of what you’re trying to describe perhaps because it sounds so cumbersome that I can’t imagine ever wanting to do such a thing. Seems easier just to multitask and do a simple search to me.

    • dwaymich

      Go to settings, then hit your apps and scroll down to your Google app and hit the uninstall update. Then restart your phone

  • thereasoner

    This is silly,
    -Google Now functionality is still available in Assistant with a swipe up,
    -you can still do a simple text search with a swipe to the right(Google Now page) or by clicking the G icon/app or by simply having the search bar displayed as before by downloading it.
    – searches are handled the same so if Assistant is giving you something to click on for results instead of a verbal description then Now would do the same.

    This sounds like people who don’t know Android that are complaining. You actually lose NOTHING with Assistant but gain an AI Assistant instead.

    • wmurch3

      I personally don’t like it because it pauses my music when I use it. Also screen search was handy and I can’t figure out how to get it back with assistant. If I could get both somehow (swipe up for now on tap maybe?) then i wouldn’t complain.

      • thereasoner

        Well you interact with Assistant with your voice so obviously the music will pause, why not use Google Now instead by clicking the Google app or search bar icon?

        As for screen search, you can have that with Assistant by swiping up instead of talking. If you highlighted something on the page you’re on then Now on Tap results for that will also be there when you swipe up after you activate Assistant.

  • Darren Kinnersley

    I’m still waiting for the assistant update 😑😑😑

  • Daniel

    Why change the language to us virgin islands when you can turn off the assistant on the google assistant settings

  • Humanman

    Soooo…No link to the thread then?

  • Anshu Kashyap

    Can anyone please upload the apk of the google assistant enabled google or google play services.

  • knon tich

    This guide doesnt work anymore. My galaxy s6 wont let me add a language. It just lets me pick the basic language ( duetch, Japanese, English). I really hate the google assistant. I used to be able to translate things so easily. Now it doesnt even recognize anything.