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Motorola Assist Update Brings Home Mode, Bug Fixes

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The last time Motorola Assist was updated, it introduced new assistive features for use when driving. Now, Motorola is repurposing some of that functionality for “effortless” interaction with your phone at home.

The upgrade introduces Home mode, which – should you enable it – announces callers and incoming text messages. Motorola also notes that driving detection has been improved, meaning Assist should have an easier time telling when you’re on the road.

Several readers noted that Assist now has learning capabilities similar to Google Now. If you decide to opt in (under Privacy in the settings menu), Motorola will attempt to learn your habits with various data, and associate the information it collects with your Motorola Device ID. The company says everything it records will be used to “create useful new features and functions.” Sounds neat.

The update is live on Google Play, so go grab it if you can.

Play Link

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Cheers Jaxon and Droidrazredge!
  • Jason Kahn

    Seriously thinking about picking up a moto x during the sale. How does car mode distinguish from if your driving the car vs a passenger. Or if it can’t is it easy to disable if you are a passenger

    • Raven65

      It can’t tell if you’re driving or if you’re a passenger in the car, but it’s very easy to disable if you’re not driving. It posts a notification telling you you’re in driving mode when it turns it on and there’s a “I’m not driving” option in that notification that you can select to turn it off.

  • Champion1229

    It would be really cool if they could use the home mode kinda like what the phone does with trusted bluetooth devices so say when I’m home the passcode is bypassed but when I’m out and about, it enables the preset passcode. Heck, they could do the same thing to the driving mode and make it a lot safer to change the Pandora station.

  • needa

    nice job moto. these are things, this and moto alerts etc, that i would expect for you to hold off until the x2.

  • Gr8Ray

    I wish they would improve driving detection so it wouldn’t start reading my texts out loud when I’m in other people’s cars. My car has bluetooth, it’s enabled for driving detection, so make that A REQUIREMENT if it’s enabled.

  • Al-Burrit0

    Have to test out the driving mode after this update. On the previous update my phone would go on driving mode for no reason.

  • Tim Faustini

    I’d really like it if Driving mode could turn on Bluetooth for me.

  • Al-Burrit0

    This actually pretty neat at least from my gaming perspective. I can finally reply without pausing the game! :D

  • Bryan

    Under driving, what happened to the ability to tell it what to do to reply to messages? That entire section is gone now. Does it default to allowing you to voice dictate a reply message?

    • needa

      nice catch.

  • http://batman-news.com LiterofCola

    I miss Smartactions :/

    • jeradc

      Why?

  • Ryan Cota

    This is great, but the feature I am dying for is for Moto Assist to work with actual Hangouts Messages, not just Hangouts SMS messages. I want it to read those out, great for SMS, but almost all my messaging now is through Hangouts and not through SMS these days. Its probably Google Now limitation though. Does anyone have this working?

    • Drooblz

      It’s a little strange with marking messages as read/dismissing them in the notification area with Hangouts, but I have no problem with it reading them aloud and sending them.

      • Ryan Cota

        Really? Actual Hangouts Messages, not just SMS messages in the Hangouts app? Now I am jealous. Any tips to get it to work? Mine acts like it doesn’t even see the Hangouts messages, just SMS.

        • Drooblz

          Oh, duh. Helps if I actually read instead of trying to multi task. Yeah that is kind of annoying, considering a lot of my chats are done via that rather than texts. The integration makes you think less about how the messages are actually going out. That’d probably have to take some deeper OS integration so they are just treated like texts.

    • droidrazredge

      This is the one thing I’m hoping does not happen when they integrate the last of Google Voice into hangouts. Currently Moto Assist does not read out any messages that are sent to me via Google Voice. The only way to get it to read anything from Google Voice is using the What’s up command in Touchless Controls. I’m hoping once they integrate everything into Hangouts Google Voice SMS messages will behave like normal Hangouts SMS and be able to be announced by Moto Assist.

    • Justtyn Hutcheson

      It’s a limitation that arises between the SMS/MMS system and the individual chat apps. SMS messages are handled at the OS level, so Motorola can tweak the stock SMS handler to allow their own systems to push SMS/MMS. That is how Connect and Assist text work outside of Google Now.

      Hangouts messages, like Facebook, WhatsApps, etc. are handled in-app. There is nothing for Motorola to hook into (aka APIs) that give them access to the messages sent or received within those apps. It sucks, but unfortunately without some help from the individual developers, there is little they can do about it.

      • Ryan Cota

        That makes a lot of sense actually, and is indeed what is happening. My hope is, like someone else replied, that with Voice integration at some point, they allow apps like this to hook into these messages.

      • needa

        thx for the info. like ryan said… that makes a lot of sense.

    • EC8CH

      THIS. Make it happen

  • Elwin Gill

    All kidding aside, Motorola Assist is absolutely impressive (and kind of creepy, in a great way), it detects the moment I get into my car, within seconds of me pulling away from my driveway or work (I own a bar/restaurant) it turns on and I can communicate verbally to my texts. I’m in the car a lot, shopping for booze and what-not for the bar, so having hands free on automatically is great! Especially in California where they are cracking down hard on driving and texting or on you phone at all.

    • Elwin Gill

      To add to this, I would like to see my location service start turning my WIFI on and off… I don’t like keeping it on all the time and if my location let the phone know when to turn on (work or home) that would be great. I have the MAXX so battery isn’t reall the issue, I just get a better signal with XLTE than I do sometimes on WIFI and I don’t want my phone always trying to connect to it…

    • athom07

      Way to casually drop that owning a bar/restaurant into your post…

  • suzane carter

    Nice Home Mode really enhances touchless controls is even more good.

  • droidrazredge

    I’m really enjoying this new at Home Mode it really enhances the touch-less controls capabilities even more. I was always hoping they would add a caller ID and text feature similar to driving mode for when I’m not driving and they finally did. I’m glad Motorola keeps supporting and enhancing the Moto X. I can’t wait to see what new features get added after 4.4.3

  • James

    The actual wording regarding data gathering is unclear. Will the gathered data will be used to personalize Moto assist features to individual users, or just to improve future features for everyone?

    • Justtyn Hutcheson

      Good question. Considering that it is kept locked to your Moto ID, it seems like they will be using it for future updates to Assist to make it even more personal. There are plenty of (non-creepy) avenues to explore when it comes to smart automation. So long as the data is used *only* for improving my Assist experience (through new features or improving current features), I’m ok with it.

  • bobukcat

    I’ve been wishing for this “Home” mode functionality for a while but IMO it would be even better if it was controlled by a Google Now voice command (Okay Google Now, enable Home mode) or even NFC based instead of being automatic based on your location. Hopefully Moto has that feature on the radar and it is “coming soon”!

    • Drooblz

      Home WIFI connection aware wouldn’t be bad either.