Home Android Android and the art of awkward timing

Android and the art of awkward timing


Well, hell. Google got me. Again.

You’d think I’d be used to the company’s habit of announcing things before they’re actually available by now, but nope — this past week, I fell for one of Google’s classic traps.

The company put out a splashy announcement on Tuesday about a new Assistant feature, y’see. It lets you send an audio message to anyone simply by talking to your phone. You just say, “Hey Google, send an audio message,” and poof! Just like that, your phone starts recording and then sends your spoken missive to whomever you want. Magical! Spiffy! Exciting! I couldn’t wait to try it! And then, well…


That’s what I saw on my Google-made Pixel 4 last Tuesday, the day the feature was announced and said to be “available in English-speaking countries around the globe, as well as in Portuguese in Brazil.” And that’s still what I see on that phone — Google’s current Android flagship device, mind you — this morning, a full week after the feature’s announcement was made.


It’s an all-too-familiar tale for anyone who uses Android — or any Google services, for that matter: You see Google announce some intriguing new feature or update. You say to yourself (as one does): “Gee willikers, that sure sounds useful!” You hurry to wrap your sweaty little fingies around the nearest gadget to find the feature and take it out for a spin.

And then, sure enough, you realize the feature inexplicably isn’t available on your device. The excitement turns to frustration, maybe with a dash of confusion and a sprinkling of resentment. You eventually move on with your life, and by the time the feature makes its way to you — anywhere from a few weeks to a matter of months later, typically with no fanfare or announcement of its arrival — you’ve completely forgotten about it and probably don’t even notice.

Now, look, I get it: Google loves to announce things and then take an eternity to roll ’em out to everyone. It’s part of its identity. It’s who Google is. Saying that something is “rolling out over the coming weeks” (or sometimes “over the coming months”) is an almost comically cliche line at this point.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.


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