Google is Killing Off a Lot of Assistant Features
Before the likes of Google’s Bard and Gemini Nano came on the scene, the Assistant was the primary software sidekick for almost anything Android. Now, the internet search giant is apparently starting to downgrade the voice-based assistant by stripping off many features from it and starting to infuse the more capable AI into its products instead.
In a blog post, Google has announced that it is removing almost 20 features from the Assistant by January 26, 2024. According to the company, they’re scrapping the support for the said features because these are underutilized. By doing so, they would focus on improving the “quality and reliability” of Google Assistant by shifting the resources.
Some of those include managing playbacks of audiobooks on Google Play Books, recipes, and cookbooks via voice commands as well as operating stop watches of smart speakers and displays. Rather, users are given different methods to access or activate the same functions. At the same time, most of these features can still be operated with the new Assistant with Bard chatbot, Google has confirmed.
Google admitted that there are some users will be affected with its move. That’s why Google will give on-device alerts for 30 days starting from the planned removal day to let users know the functions they’re trying to access are no longer available.
Changing how the microphone tool operates in the Google app and search bar
There is also a major change announced for how the microphone shortcut will work on the Google app and the search bar widget for Android and Pixel devices. Google said that all launches with the mic tool will trigger search results, removing the non-web voice commands like opening an app or controlling connected smart devices, among others.
Users can still summon Google Assistant by manually opening the app, “Hey Google” command, or activating it via shortcuts on the home or power button. From there, they can perform the supported voice commands and tasks.
Which Google Assistant features are going away
Here’s a quick and friendly update on what’s new and what’s changed with voice commands for Google services and devices! Whether you’re managing audiobooks, setting alarms, or using Google Maps, this guide will help you stay in the loop with the latest features. Let’s dive in!
- Audiobooks: Control audiobooks on Google Play Books using voice commands. Casting from mobile devices is still possible.
- Alarms: Set up media, music, or radio alarms on Google Assistant devices using custom Routines or standard alarms.
- Recipes: Search for recipes across the web and YouTube with Google Assistant. Recipe management on devices and playing instructional videos are not supported.
- Stopwatch: Use timers and alarms on Smart Displays and Speakers, but managing a stopwatch is not available.
- Family Messaging: Broadcast messages to your home devices, but voice calls to devices are no longer supported.
- Emails and Messages: Voice commands for sending emails or video/audio messages are disabled. Voice calls and text messages remain functional.
- Google Calendar: Schedule new events, but rescheduling via voice command is not available.
- Google Maps Driving Mode: Use voice control for navigation, but App Launcher for messages, calls, and media is not supported.
- Family Bell Announcements: Set these up with custom Routines instead of voice commands.
- Calm Meditation: Request meditation options from media providers like YouTube, but direct voice commands to Calm are not available.
- Fitbit Voice Control: Activities on Fitbit Sense and Versa 3 must be controlled using buttons. Pixel Watches retain voice control.
- Sleep Summaries: Viewable only on Google Smart Displays, but you can ask about sleep details on third-party smart clocks.
- Caller ID: Calls from speakers and Smart Displays will have caller ID only with Duo.
- Commute Estimates: Ask for commute times and directions by voice, but ambient “Commute to Work” estimates on Smart Displays are not available.
- Travel Itineraries: Check flight statuses by voice, but not full itineraries.
- Contact Information: Make calls to your contacts, but asking for detailed contact information is not supported.
- Voice Actions: Actions like sending payments, making reservations, or posting on social media via voice are disabled. Use voice commands to open installed apps instead.
How often do you use Google Assistant on your device? Have you used any of the features listed above? Tell us what do you think of this change.