One of the best ways to understand the potential of the Google Assistant is to watch how fast the voice-activated helper can now bring up Beyonce’s Instagram page.“Hey, Google,” says Meggie Hollenger, a Google program manager, using the wake words that trigger the software on her smartphone. Then it’s off to the races as she shoots off 12 commands in rapid-fire succession. “Open the New York Times … Open YouTube … Open Netflix … Open Calendar … Set a timer for 5 minutes … What’s the weather today? … How about tomorrow? … Show me John Legend on Twitter … Show me Beyoncé on Instagram … Turn on the flashlight … Turn it off … Get an Uber to my hotel.” As she asks each question, the phone pops up the new information. The whole sequence takes 41 seconds. She doesn’t have to repeat the wake words between commands. When she makes the request to see what Beyonce is up to, the Assistant not only launches the Instagram app, it automatically takes us directly to the pop star’s page so I can see the latest photos she’s shared with her 127 million followers. Likewise, when Hollenger asks for an Uber, the software already knows where she’s staying.