The list of features being removed from Google Assistant
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Google is implementing significant changes to Google Assistant, with the stated goal of “prioritizing quality and dependability.” However, these changes have also resulted in the termination of hundreds of employees at Google who were previously involved in the development of Google Assistant. This raises questions about the future of AI and whether it could eventually surpass Google Assistant, even though we are aware that Bard is set to be integrated into Google Assistant.
These changes entail the removal or alteration of numerous features that users have grown accustomed to. According to Google, these changes are intended to “enhance the user experience across various devices.” Here is a list of the modifications scheduled to take effect on January 26:
Audiobook playback and control on Google Play Books via voice commands will no longer be supported. Users can still cast audiobooks from their mobile devices.
Setting or utilizing media alarms, music alarms, or radio alarms on Google Assistant-enabled devices will be discontinued. Users can achieve similar functionality by creating a custom Routine or using a standard alarm.
Features related to accessing, managing, transferring recipes, and instructional recipe videos will no longer be available. Users can rely on Google Assistant to search for recipes online or on YouTube.
The ability to manage a stopwatch on Smart Displays and Speakers will be removed. Users can continue to set timers and alarms.
Voice commands to call a device or broadcast messages within your Google Family Group will be discontinued. Broadcasting messages to devices within your home will still be possible.
Sending emails, video messages, or audio messages using voice commands will no longer be supported. However, making calls and sending text messages will still be possible.
Rescheduling events in Google Calendar through voice commands will no longer be available. Users can still schedule new events manually.
The App Launcher in Google Assistant’s driving mode on Google Maps for reading and sending messages, making calls, and controlling media will no longer be accessible. Voice control on Google Maps will still function the same way.
Voice commands to schedule or hear previously scheduled Family Bell announcements will be removed. Users can recreate similar behavior through custom Routines.
Requesting meditation with Calm using voice commands will no longer be possible. Users can still inquire about meditation options with other media providers, such as YouTube.
Voice control for activities will cease to be available on Fitbit Sense and Versa 3 devices. Users will need to utilize device buttons to initiate, stop, pause, and resume activities. Voice control for activities on Pixel Watches will remain unaffected.
Viewing sleep summaries will be limited to Google Smart Displays. However, users can still obtain sleep details via voice commands on third-party smart clocks.
Calls made from speakers and Smart Displays will not display caller IDs, unless Google Duo is used.
Ambient “Commute to Work” time estimates on Smart Displays will no longer be visible. Users can still inquire about commute times and obtain directions through voice commands.
Checking personal travel itineraries through voice commands will be discontinued. Users can still inquire about flight status.
Voice commands for retrieving information about your contacts will be removed. Users can still make calls to their contacts.
Performing specific actions by voice, such as making payments, reservations, or posting on social media, will no longer be possible. Users can continue to use Google Assistant to open their installed apps.
Changes are also anticipated for the Google App, which include:
The microphone icon will now activate Google Search results, instead of triggering the Google Assistant.
Saying “Hey Google,” long-pressing the home or power button on Android phones, or opening the Google Assistant app on iOS will still function as before.
The microphone button within the Pixel Search bar will now activate Google voice search rather than the Assistant.
These changes in the Google App have coincided with significant layoffs at Google. Many employees who were actively involved in Google Assistant-related projects have been affected by these layoffs. Google has explained that these changes are part of an effort to restrict the company from integrating new AI technologies. The impact of these layoffs extends to Google employees working in core engineering, devices, and services, including those working on Pixel, Fitbit, Nest, and, naturally, Google Assistant.
The implications of these alterations are intriguing. While it may seem like a victory for core search functionalities, the future holds the promise of additional AI technologies and features. This raises questions about how these new technologies will influence Google Search. Will we witness the emergence of a new Google Search Generative Experience or something entirely different?
As we approach 2024, it’s clear that this year will be marked by significant developments and changes in the realm of search technology.