• Wed. Aug 17th, 2022

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The Google Pixel’s squeeze for assistant was a button without a button

Photo of someone squeezing a Pixel 2 to activate Google assistant
Putting essential features at your fingertips is good, actually. | Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

The Pixel 2 is an almost five-year-old phone, but it introduced a feature that I miss more and more with each passing year. It was called Active Edge, and it let you summon Google Assistant just by giving your phone a squeeze. In some ways, it’s an unusual idea. But it effectively gave you something sorely lacking on modern phones: a way to physically interact with the phone to just get something done.

Looking at the sides of the Pixel 2 and 2 XL, you won’t see anything to indicate that you’re holding anything special. Sure, there’s a power button and volume rocker, but otherwise, the sides are sparse. Give the phone’s bare edges a good squeeze, though, and a subtle vibration and animation will play, as Google Assistant pops up from the…

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