Update 2 (January 12, 2024)

10:08 am (IST): In a new turn of events, a recent post on the official Google blog indicates that activating voice search instead of Assistant from the ‘search bar’ mic icon is an intended behavior following a recent change, not a bug. Therefore, everyone may be unable to invoke Google Assistant from the mic icon soon. More on that here.

Update 1 (January 9, 2024)

09:05 am (IST): Google has implemented a server-side fix for the issue where the Pixel Launcher microphone was activating voice search instead of Google Assistant. In case you are still facing the issue, try rebooting your phone as a potential workaround to ‘force’ the fix’s arrival.

Original article follows:

Google Pixel users are reporting that tapping on the ‘microphone’ icon in the bottom search bar of the home screen is launching voice search instead of the Google Assistant, as it used to happen before.

‘Mic’ icon on Pixel Launcher home screen launching voice search instead of Google Assistant

Google Assistant has become a key part of the Android experience, and there are multiple methods to ‘invoke’ it. One of those methods is to tap on the ‘mic’ icon that is present in the Pixel Launcher’s search bar, or at least that’s how it was until now.

According to 9to5Google, the aforementioned Pixel Launcher ‘mic’ icon is now launching ‘voice search’ instead of the Google Assistant, with no apparent explanation. The new behavior seems to be present since the Google app v15.0 update (beta) and on Pixel devices running Android 14 QPR2 Beta 2.


At the moment, it is unknown if this is a bug or an intentional change, since there is no official word on the matter. However, it is causing annoyance among those people who usually use the ‘microphone’ icon to quickly access the Google Assistant.

Other ways to quickly invoke Assistant

If you are one of the people affected by the bug, you can still quickly access Google Assistant in other ways. The most commonly used is to set Assistant so that you can ‘summon’ it using the voice command ‘Hey Google’ at any time.

There are people who do not want to enable Google Assistant’s ability to always listen waiting for you to say the ‘trigger phrase’, mainly for reasons of privacy and even battery consumption. In those cases, they can invoke Google Assistant by swiping from the bottom corner (right or left) to the center of the screen.

Let’s hope that things become clearer soon and users can use the ‘microphone’ icon again to launch Google Assistant as they did before, or that they can at least choose which service to open by tapping on it.

Jean Leon
1613 Posts

A tech enthusiast since ever. I like to always be up to date on the latest news in the industry and write about it. Twitter: @jean_ERdC

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