31 March 2020
Google Assistant is capable of helping users do a variety of tasks but if you have ever tried to use it for reading or sending messages, you must have noticed that it works only with the native messaging (SMS) application or Google Hangouts. It is not helpful as most people communicate through third-party instant messaging applications. Google seems to have noticed this difference finally as Google Assistant now supports Telegram, WhatsApp, and Slack for reading/replying text messages.
This new change was first shared by Android Police who received a tip from one of their readers. To get started with this new functionality, you have to say "read my messages" to Google Assistant. This will open a new screen where you will have to grant notification access permission to Google. This is the permission which will allow Assistant to read your new messages through notifications. It is a mandatory step and if not followed, you will not be able to take benefits of the new feature.
Once the permission is granted, using "read my messages" will work and Assistant will show your recent messages from supported instant messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, and Slack. You will further be able to send replies to those messages through voice commands. It is worth noting that since Assistant is reading messages through notifications and not via the apps, the feature works only for texts. If you will receive an image, video or audio clip, it will not be able to show/play them for you.
Google is yet to make an official announcement regarding this new Assistant feature. It means this change could even be part of a testing and we might have to wait for the public release. Nevertheless, now you know the steps to check if your particular device has this feature working or not. If it does not work for you, it is recommended to be patient.