Google is set to undergo a notable transformation by opting for a substantial reduction in features rather than the conventional approach of adding more. The traditional method of enhancing a product typically involves the addition of new features. Contrary to this, Google has chosen a different path by initiating a significant trim of one of its flagship products “Google Assistant“, starting this month.
On January 26, 2024, Google is slated to retire almost 20 distinct features within Google Assistant. As of this date, users engaging any of these soon-to-be-discontinued features will receive notifications directly from the Assistant. These notifications serve as an alert, conveying the information that the particular feature is in the process of winding down. The notification system is designed to provide users with a 30-day window during which they will continue to receive alerts. This approach allows users a reasonable timeframe to acclimate to the forthcoming changes in the Google Assistant’s feature landscape.
On February 26, 2024, Google Assistant is set to undergo changes as certain features will officially be removed. Following this date, any attempt to invoke these features from the list will result in the Google Assistant rejecting the command, indicating that it is unable to perform the requested action. This alteration marks a significant shift in the functionality of the Google Assistant, impacting the user experience by eliminating access to specific features.
The removal of these features is likely part of an update or restructuring of the Google Assistant platform. Users accustomed to utilizing the affected features should be aware of the upcoming changes to avoid frustration and confusion when attempting to engage with the assistant. Google’s decision to discontinue these features may be driven by various factors, including improvements in technology, user feedback, or the need to streamline the assistant’s capabilities.
As of February 26, users should be prepared for a seamless transition to the updated version of Google Assistant, understanding that certain functionalities will no longer be available. It is advisable for users to familiarize themselves with the revised list of features or consult official Google Assistant documentation for the most up-to-date information on the available commands. This proactive approach will enable users to make the most of the assistant’s capabilities and adapt to the changes smoothly.
To ensure users have access to the latest and most advanced version of Google Assistant, the company has implemented a requirement for users to update to a recent version of the Google app. This update mandate comes into effect on the same date that the specified features are scheduled to be phased out. Users will need to ensure that their Google app is at least version 12 or higher on both their phones and tablets.
The decision to link the update requirement with the removal of certain features suggests that the new version of Google Assistant may have enhancements or changes that necessitate an updated app. This strategy aims to keep users engaged with the latest improvements in Google Assistant’s capabilities while maintaining a consistent and up-to-date user experience.
Users should take note of this requirement and proactively update their Google app to avoid any disruptions in the functionality of Google Assistant. Staying current with the latest version ensures access to new features, optimizations, and potentially improved performance, contributing to an overall enhanced user experience.
Why was the Feature removed?
In a recent blog post, Google provided an explanation for upcoming changes to Google Assistant, emphasizing a renewed focus on quality and reliability. The company revealed that the decision to remove support for certain features was driven by prioritizing functionalities deemed higher in importance than others.
Acknowledging the potential disruption caused by such changes, Google is aware that users who heavily rely on the affected features may express discontent with their removal. These users may find it challenging to adapt to the altered functionalities, highlighting the impact of the adjustments on certain segments of the user base.
Despite the removal of specific features, Google sought to assure users that Assistant with Bard remains unaffected by these changes. This confirmation offers a glimmer of anticipation for users, as it implies that Google Assistant’s future developments, particularly those involving Bard, may bring new and innovative features to enhance the overall experience.
Features to remove
- Accessing the full Assistant from the Google Search bar will change. Tapping the mic icon will now prompt a voice search only. Non-search queries like “turn off the lights” or “send a message” won’t be possible here. However, you can still make Assistant queries by saying “Hey Google” or long-pressing on your phone’s power button.
- Playing and controlling audiobooks on Google Play Books with your voice will undergo modifications. Casting audiobooks from your mobile device remains possible.
- Setting or using media alarms, music alarms, or radio alarms on Google Assistant-enabled devices will no longer be supported. Users can create a custom Routine with similar behavior or use a standard alarm.
- Accessing or managing your cookbook, transferring recipes, playing instructional recipe videos, or showing step-by-step recipes via Google Assistant will change. Users can now utilize Google Assistant to search for recipes across the web and YouTube.
- Managing a stopwatch on Smart Displays and Speakers will no longer be available. However, setting timers and alarms remains unchanged.
- Using your voice to call a device or broadcast a message to your Google Family Group will see modifications. Broadcasting to devices in your home is still possible.
- Using your voice to send an email, video, or audio message will be discontinued. However, making calls and sending text messages remains an available feature.
- Rescheduling an event in Google Calendar with your voice will no longer be supported. Scheduling a new event is still possible.
- Using App Launcher in Google Assistant driving mode on Google Maps for certain actions, such as reading and sending messages, making calls, and controlling media, will change. Voice control on Google Maps can still be used the same way.
- Asking to schedule or hear previously scheduled Family Bell announcements via voice will see changes. Users can create a custom Routine with similar behavior.
- Asking to meditate with Calm will be modified. Users can still ask for meditation options with media providers like YouTube.
- Voice control for activities will no longer be available on Fitbit Sense and Versa 3 devices. Users will need to use the buttons on their devices to start, stop, pause, and resume activities. However, voice control for activities on Pixel Watches is still supported.
- Viewing sleep summaries will only be available on Google Smart Displays. However, users can still ask for sleep details by voice on third-party smart clocks.
- Calls made from speakers and Smart Displays will not show up with a caller ID unless using Duo.
- Viewing ambient “Commute to Work” time estimates on Smart Displays will change. Users can still ask for commute times and get directions by voice.
- Checking personal travel itineraries by voice will be modified. Users can still ask for flight status.
- Asking for information about your contacts by voice will be discontinued. However, making calls to your contacts is still possible.
- Asking to take certain actions by voice, such as sending a payment, making a reservation, or posting to social media, will be discontinued. Users can still ask Assistant to open their installed apps.
It’s worth noting that there could be additional features slated for removal in future updates to Google Assistant. Keeping an eye on official updates and release notes will provide users with the most accurate and timely information regarding any additional features that may be discontinued in subsequent Google Assistant updates.
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