Google currently lets users adjust volume levels of media, calls & notifications, and alarm on Android. With Android 11, Google is apparently working to expand that to virtual assistants.
As spotted by XDA’s Mishaal Rahman, Android 11’s source code released on AOSP hints at a new audio stream for virtual assistants such as Google Assistant and Bixby. Once enabled, you will be able to tweak the volume level of the virtual assistant of your choice. This happens irrespective of other media volume settings.
Android 11 adds a new stream type: AUDIO_STREAM_ASSISTANT. “This is intended to be used by a virtual assistant like Google Assistant, Bixby, etc. The audio stream has own volume alias and the volume does not change by volume changes of other streams.”https://t.co/3omy2phZQM
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) September 8, 2020
“New stream type: AUDIO_STREAM_ASSISTANT. This is intended to be used by a virtual assistant like Google Assistant, Bixby, etc. The audio stream has own volume alias and the volume does not change by volume changes of other streams,” states Google.
As far as the practicality of this feature is concerned, I don’t think I will ever need a slider to control Google Assistant’s volume. With this addition, however, Google Assistant may no longer get silenced when you’re playing media in other apps. Instead, it may continue providing voice output, say when you’re playing a song or podcast. This behavior, at least in theory, is better than paused media which interrupts the experience.
For now, the exact launch timeline for this feature remains unknown. It is not present in the stable build of Android 11 that Google released for Pixel phones. We will have to wait to see when Google is planning to roll out this feature. It is possible that Google Assistant volume controls might arrive in a Pixel feature drop in the coming months.