ChatGPT could replace Google Assistant on Android phones — code suggests OpenAI wants to give you a choice

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

ChatGPT could be aiming to be more central to Android users' smartphones according to lines in the code of its Android app that suggest it wants to be a Google Assistant replacement

According to a recent report on Android Authority, there is evidence in the code of the ChatGPT app (version 1.2023.352) that indicates it would be possible to set ChatGPT as a phone's default assistant app. This would seemingly function like the in-app talk mode, although this option appears to be disabled by default.

Currently, for ChatGPT to work the app needs to be open for the user to enter their queries. While this does make sense for a regular app, it does limit its potential as a digital assistant. Part of the appeal of apps like Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri is how easy it is to activate them and ask a question in the spur of the moment.

New updated Android mascot and logo design.

(Image credit: Google / Tom's Guide)

However, if it is possible to set ChatGPT as a default assistant, then it would be much more immediately usable. For instance, users could theoretically bring it up at any time by uttering a wake phrase, like Google Assistant's "OK Google." 

As previously mentioned, it appears that this feature is not fully integrated into the ChatGPT app, or even fully accessible yet. Currently, there are tags in the code that are required for an app to handle being the default digital assistant app, but it is still missing the code that would allow it to know which service it will need to bind to. 

This could, in theory, be the beginning of a new future for AI assistants in the smartphone market. While it is not clear if this code is going to ever be made official it raises the question of whether users will soon be able to choose which AI assistant they want on their phone, much like when choosing a preferred web browser. We will only know for sure if we see the feature become public and have a chance to test it ourselves.

2024's shaping up to be another big year for AI, including in smartphones. We already saw the Google Pixel 8 series putting a lot of emphasis on its AI-enhanced features at the tail end of last year, and with devices like the Galaxy S24 looking to do the same by heralding the Galaxy AI age, the question of which app you get to help you use all of these abilities could be a big one.

More From Tom's Guide

Staff Writer

Josh is a staff writer for Tom's Guide and is based in the UK. He has worked for several publications but now works primarily on mobile phones. Outside of phones, he has a passion for video games, novels, and Warhammer.