Google removes this essential feature from its Voice Assistant and it will change your life!

Google removes this essential feature from its Voice Assistant and it will change your life!

Surprise, surprise! Google is set to eliminate many important functions from its renowned Voice Assistant in the upcoming weeks. This move foreshadows the imminent integration of Bard, its new, significantly more powerful artificial intelligence module. However, the absence of certain Google Voice Assistant features may not make your life any easier.

To win the artificial intelligence race it has embarked on, Google is determined to integrate its conversational AI Bard into its Voice Assistant, which has more than 2 billion users, to enable it to perform much more sophisticated tasks than simple voice commands.

On October 4, during its Made By Google conference, the company explained that the tool, called Assistant with Bard, will be able to respond to an even wider range of questions and tasks, from basic requests such as the weather, setting alarms or sending messages to more sophisticated responses generated by the AI. It will even be able to interact directly with Google applications such as Gmail and Drive. But in the meantime, the Mountain View company has decided to sort out the functions of its Voice Assistant, deleting no less than seventeen of them, as it announced in a blog post. This news comes after the firm laid off several hundred of its employees, some of whom were working on the Assistant feature.

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Google Assistant: removing old (but gold) features before the arrival of Bard

Google justifies this decision with the desire to concentrate on the functions of the Voice Assistant that are really useful.

"We're prioritizing the experiences you love and investing in the underlying technology to make them even better — which means that some underutilized features will no longer be supported," the company explains.

If you try to use one of these features, you may receive a notification indicating the precise date on which it will disappear. These deletions will take effect from January 26 and become definitive on February 26. Google provides alternatives for some of them, although most will vanish altogether. Here are the main ones affected, including some of the most common features, such as the events scheduling feature and smart home management.

  • Reading or controlling audiobooks on Google Play Books by voice (although, it will still be possible to stream audiobooks from a smartphone);
  • Setting or using multimedia, music, or radio alarms (instead, you'll have to create a similar custom routine or use a standard alarm);
  • Access and manage your cookbook, transfer recipes from one device to another, play a recipe video, or show step-by-step recipes;
  • Manage a stopwatch on connected screens and speakers;
  • Use your voice to call a device or send a message to your Google family group;
  • Use your voice to send an email, video, or audio message;
  • Reschedule an event in Google Calendar by voice;
  • Use App Launcher in Assistant driving mode on Google Maps to listen to and send messages, make calls, or control multimedia (although, it will still be possible to do this directly on the mapping application);
  • Ask to schedule or hear a family announcement;
  • Meditate with Calm, the meditation application;
  • Use voice to control activities on Fitbit Sense and Versa 3 devices;
  • Display sleep data on devices other than connected screens;
  • Display caller ID for calls made from connected speakers and screens, unless using Google Duo;
  • Display estimated commuting times on connected screens (although, it will still be possible to obtain this information by voice);
  • Request verification of personal travel itineraries by voice;
  • Request contact information;
  • Ask to perform certain actions by voice, such as sending a payment, making a reservation, or posting on social media.

Another small change is expected in the way the microphone icon in the search bar on smartphones works. In a few weeks, it will no longer be used to perform actions such as "turn on the lights" or "send a message." Eventually, it will only be used to perform a Google search by voice, which is its most popular function. To activate the Assistant, you will have to say "Hey Google" or press and hold the home or power button.