You may soon be able to remap the Google Assistant key on your Pixelbook or Pixel Slate

Currently, only Pixel-branded Chrome OS devices have a dedicated Google Assistant hardware key, which of course, launch the Assistant, which is now native. Since November 2017, however, users have requested that Google allow this key to be remapped. And as of this month, Google is working to make this change.

Chrome Story first spotted the Chromium code commit, which coincides with this 15-month old feature request. Note that you can currently remap a number of hardware keys on any Chromebook, just not the Assistant key. To remap a key, just click Settings, Keyboard to customize either the Launcher, Ctrl, Alt, Escape or Backspace keys. You can also type this link in your browser to get directly to the setting: chrome://settings/device

Why might people want to remap the Assistant key? Essentially because there’s no “super” key like Windows and macOS computers have, as one of the comments in the feature request points out:

This feature would add polish for Crostini, as people try to run apps within containers that expect a “Windows” or “Super” key to work.

I use Linux apps in Crostini every day for coding, but I use a graphical integrated development environment. Devs that work in terminal-style apps often want to rebind or remap certain keys to help their workflow, which I can completely understand. This would be a very welcome feature for those use cases.

4 thoughts on “You may soon be able to remap the Google Assistant key on your Pixelbook or Pixel Slate

  • February 24, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    If/when this happens, I’d expect non-developers to rejoice as well. Many will enthusiastically map the Caps Lock to the Search key and map the Search key to the GA key. I don’t have a GA key. But I figured out that I never really need the Escape key because there are always options to hitting Escape. So the Escape key became my new Search key. Now I have the Caps Lock key back where my brain has it hardwired to be. Old habits die hard, especially when you use PCs other than Chromebooks.

  • February 24, 2019 at 10:05 pm

    How about a delete key? I miss that a lot?

  • February 25, 2019 at 6:57 am

    I recently submitted a ticket about my feedback on Assistant. The newest Assistant is at the center of screen and is stealing my screen estate, what I think is that Assistant can be much more powerful if it could answer my questions in background like Google home. One example is that I could be writing a document or blog about personal finance, I want to know current stock price, currency conversion, and simple calculations, so I don’t have to be distracted to that middle Assistant window, and non-stop writing; a lot like those movie style AI.

    • February 25, 2019 at 6:39 pm

      Google Assistant on Chromebooks is very much a work in progress. Google’s goal does seem to eventually make GA catch up to Google Home. But it’s still a long ways off. I found that it can play music and open some apps on request. But it can’t close anything on request. And it can’t tell you the name of the band or artist that published the music that it’s currently playing.


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