Voice assistants have become an essential tool for many people, with approximately 146 million users in the US alone. Google Assistant, one of the most popular voice assistants, is set to undergo some changes.
In a recent blog post, Google announced that it will be streamlining its Assistant by discontinuing nearly 20 features. The goal is to enhance the quality and reliability of the Assistant, providing a smoother experience across all devices. These changes will go into effect on January 26.
Here are some of the features that will be impacted:
– Controlling audiobooks on Google Play Books by voice will no longer be supported. However, users can still cast audiobooks from their mobile devices.
– Management of cookbooks on Google Assistant, including transferring recipes and instructional videos, will be discontinued. Users can still search for recipes online and on YouTube using Google Assistant.
– Setting media, music, or radio alarms on Google Assistant devices will no longer be possible. Instead, users can create custom Routines or use standard alarms.
– Stopwatch management on Smart Displays and Speakers will be discontinued. However, setting timers and alarms will still be available.
– Voice calling a device or broadcasting to a Google Family Group will no longer be supported. Users can still broadcast to devices within their home.
– Sending emails, video, or audio messages with voice commands will be discontinued. However, making calls and sending text messages will still be possible.
– Asking for contact information using voice commands will no longer be supported, but users can still make calls to contacts.
– The App Launcher in Google Assistant driving mode on Google Maps for messages and calls will be removed. However, voice control on Google Maps can still be used in the same way.
– Voice control for activities will be disabled for Fitbit Sense and Versa 3 devices. Pixel Watches will still support voice control for activities.
– Calls from speakers and Smart Displays will no longer display a caller ID unless using Duo.
– Voice-checking personal travel itineraries will no longer be supported, although users can still inquire about flight status.
– Voice actions like sending payments, making reservations, or posting on social media will be discontinued. However, users can still ask the Assistant to open installed apps.
In addition to these changes, Google is also enhancing the user experience in the Google app. The microphone icon will now trigger search results in response to queries. Activating the Assistant will remain the same, with users able to use voice commands or open the Assistant app.
However, the microphone icon in the Search bar will no longer support actions like “turn on the lights” or “send a message.” This will also apply to the Pixel Search bar, which will activate Voice Search instead of Assistant. Users with older versions of the Google app (v12 and older) will be prompted to upgrade to the latest version of Google Assistant.