Google Assistant has so many features that it can be a little overwhelming to understand all that it can do. “Snapshot” is a feature that you may have never heard of, but it might be something you’ll want to start using.
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Snapshot is not just for Android
The history of the Snapshot feature goes all the way back to before Google Assistant’s existence. A product called “Google Now” was the company’s “assistant,” and it was all about providing information to you without your input.
The idea was that you’d open up Google Now and see cards with information that might 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 lost for a bit. Eventually, Google added it back. At first, it was called the “Today” view, but now we know it as “Snapshot.”
Like its predecessor, Snapshot is meant to be proactive. It’s highly customizable and can hook into your other Google services. You get a “snapshot” of what’s happening at that moment and what’s coming up. It’s available in the Google Assistant app for the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.
Snapshot shouldn’t be confused with the “Discover” feed, which is focused solely on news.
What can Snapshot do? Well, that’s really up to you. It’s intended to be a highly personal feature. The information is organized into cards, and you can customize which cards you’ll see and what they’ll show.
Google categorizes these cards into a few groups.
- Upcoming Tasks: These cards are for alerting you about things happening now (or that will happen) in your future. Some examples include weather, reminders, calendar events, bills, and commute times.
- Recommendations: Cards with recommendations for things like movies and recipes.
- Travel: Cards specifically for travel-oriented tasks, like car reservations, currency conversions, and language translations.
- Celebrations: Upcoming birthdays for friends and family, anniversaries, and public holidays.
- Interests: Upcoming games and scores for your favorite teams, stock market alerts, updates about your stock portfolio, etc.
Many of these things rely on information from other Google services. For example, Snapshot can grab upcoming bills from your Gmail, events from Google Calendar, commute times from your “Work” location in Google Maps, etc.
In addition to being able to turn off all of these different cards, you can also customize how they work. You can decide which Google Calendars appear, customize recipe recommendations, pin cards to the top of the page, and more.
That’s a lot to take in, but just think of Snapshot as a dashboard for anything you might find useful. Google does the work of surfacing the content for you. All you have to do is decide what you like or don’t like. Eventually, no input is required.
First, launch the Google Assistant app. You have a few different ways to do this on Android. You can simply launch it from the home screen icon, say “Okay, Google,” or swipe in from the bottom-left or -right corner.
Now tap the Snapshot icon in the bottom-left corner. The UI 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 App Library.
Then tap the Snapshot icon in the bottom-left corner.
The Snapshot view will look (mostly) the same on every device you use. It’s all synced to your Google account.
Oddly, Google only allows the Android app to customize which cards appear in the Snapshot. To do this, tap the gear icon at the top of Snapshot.
Now you can toggle on or off any of the cards in the list.
To customize a card from the Snapshot view, tap the three-dot icon in the corner. You may have to expand the card first. This can be done on Android, iPhone, and iPad.
From there, you can remove the card, go to the Settings for that card, or “Add to Favorites,” which pins it to the top.
Snapshot can be a very powerful and handy tool if you take some time to set it up and customize it. The more you use and tweak the Google Assistant feature, the better it will get at showing you what you want to see.