In a surprising turn of events, Google has decided to bid farewell to 17 Google Assistant features, marking them as the first casualties in the upcoming ‘Assistant with Bard’ release scheduled for 2024. The decision has sparked curiosity and concern among Google Assistant users worldwide. Let’s delve into the specifics of this unexpected overhaul.
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Why the Cuts?
Google defends its move, stating that the features on the chopping block were deemed “underutilized.” The tech giant aims to shift its focus towards “prioritizing experiences,” leaving users to wonder if these changes will enhance or hinder their interaction with Google Assistant.
The 17 Features of Getting the Ax
Here’s a breakdown of the functions that will bid farewell by February 26, according to information sourced from 9to5Google:
1) Audiobook Control
- Playing and controlling audiobooks from Google Play Books using your voice will no longer be supported.
2) Media Alerts and Alarms
- Setting or using media alerts, music alarms, or radio alarms on your devices will be discontinued.
3) Cookbook Management
- Accessing or maintaining your cookbook, exchanging recipes, and watching instructive recipe videos will no longer be possible.
4) Stopwatch on Smart Displays
- Managing a stopwatch on Smart Displays and Speakers will be replaced by using timers and alarms.
5) Voice Messaging
- Sending emails, videos, or audio messages using your voice will be phased out.
6) Calendar Rescheduling
- Rescheduling an event in Google Calendar using your voice will be retired.
7) Driving Assistance with Google Assistant
- Reading and sending messages, making calls, and managing music while driving with Google Assistant on Google Maps will change.
8) Family Bell Announcements
- Requesting to arrange or hear already booked Family Bell announcements will cease to exist.
9) Meditation with Calm
- Requesting to meditate with Calm will be replaced by seeking meditation options from other media providers.
10) Fitbit Voice Control
- Fitbit Sense and Versa 3 devices will no longer support activity-based voice control.
11) Sleep Summary on Google Smart Displays
- Viewing your sleep summary will only be possible on Google Smart Displays.
12) Caller ID on Speaker Calls
- Calls made from speakers and Smart Displays will not display a caller ID unless you use Duo.
13) Smart Display Commute Estimates
- Smart Displays will no longer provide ambient “Commute to Work” time estimates.
14) Voice-Based Travel Itineraries
- Checking personal travel itineraries by voice will no longer be supported.
15) Contact Information Requests
- Requesting information about your contacts by voice will be phased out.
16) Speech-Based Tasks
- Requesting specific tasks by speech, such as submitting a payment or booking a reservation, will be retired.
17) Assistant Upgrades and Bard
- These changes come on the heels of Google’s announcement that Assistant with Bard is nearing its official deployment on Android.
The majority of these functions are linked to voice commands on smart speakers and smartphones. Therefore, their discontinuation is not expected to significantly impact Assistant’s overall effectiveness, unless you are a frequent user of the features mentioned.
Heads Up from Google Assistant
Starting January 26, Google Assistant will display a “This feature is being deprecated” warning when attempting to use any of the now-retired functions. It’s a gentle nudge for users to adapt to the imminent changes.
What are your opinions on Google removing these 17 features? Do they play a significant role in how you use Google Assistant? Share your insights in the comments section below.
As we brace for the Assistant with Bard release, Google’s decision to bid farewell to these features reflects the tech giant’s commitment to evolving user experiences. While some may mourn the loss of familiar functions, this move sets the stage for what Google envisions as the future of voice-activated assistance.