Google is testing a suggestion-less keyboard on the Google Assistant

One of our biggest issues with Google is that they perform so many A/B/C … /Z testing these days. It seems that everyone has a new feature. One such new feature is popping up on our devices. When typing in Gboard in Google Assistant, it no longer shows you word suggestions.

One of the neat things unveiled at I/O 2017 was that we could now chat with the Google Assistant with the keyboard. This is incredibly useful in case you don’t want to talk to your phone everywhere. That would make for an awkward encounter if you are searching for something ambiguous.

No more suggestions

As seen in this screenshot, you do not get suggestions as you start typing into your Assistant.

Why break something that works fine?

This form of input is generally achieved by appending the following to your app (the string is not from the Google Assistant app):


However, this is generally used for password related input fields. The Google Assistant conversation window is hardly a field where one enters passwords. In fact, word suggestions might help one make your query faster if you use it often.

One such example is when you want to take a screenshot using the Google Assistant. Earlier, Gboard would know I want to type “take a screenshot” as soon as I would type “ta.”

Now, one has to type the entire thing, or else it fails to recognize it as the correct command. This is frustrating, and counter productive. I have to otherwise speak to it, which defeats the purpose of having the option to type things out.

A/B testing does help

In general, A/B testing is a good practice and helps you test out your features well in advance. However, it makes no sense to actually remove something that is so trivial that it won’t really affect anyone if it is let the way it is.

I, for one, hope that this behavior is changed as soon as possible.