Google Axing 17 ‘Underutilized’ Google Assistant Features

Google Assistant has a variety of features to simplify tasks. But not all of them are used similarly. Google recently announced that it will be killing off 17 of its ‘underutilized’ Assistant features. The features will be removed from smartphones, smart watches, smarty displays, etc. While Google has offered workarounds for many of these features, some are being axed completely. 

Here’s a list of the 17 features being removed from Google Assistant, as mentioned on the Google Support website:

  1. Playing and controlling audiobooks on Google Play Books with your voice. You can still cast audiobooks from your mobile device.
  2. Setting or using media alarms, music alarms, or radio alarms on Google Assistant-enabled devices. You can create a custom Routine that has similar behavior or use a standard alarm.
  3. Accessing or managing your cookbook, transferring recipes from device to device, playing an instructional recipe video, or showing step-by-step recipes. You can use Google Assistant to search for recipes across the web and YouTube.
  4. Managing a stopwatch on Smart Displays and Speakers. You can still set timers and alarms.
  5. Using your voice to call a device or broadcast a message to your Google Family Group. You can still broadcast to devices in your home.
  6. Using your voice to send an email, video or audio message. You can still make calls and send text messages.
  7. Rescheduling an event in Google Calendar with your voice. You can still schedule a new event.
  8. Using App Launcher in Google Assistant driving mode on Google Maps to read and send messages, make calls, and control media. You can still use voice control on Google Maps the same way.
  9. Asking to schedule or hear previously scheduled Family Bell announcements. You can create a custom Routine that has similar behavior.
  10. Asking to meditate with Calm. You can still ask for meditation options with media providers such as YouTube.
  11. Voice control for activities will no longer be available on Fitbit Sense and Versa 3 devices. You’ll need to use the buttons on your device to start, stop, pause, and resume activities. You can still voice control activities on Pixel Watches.
  12. Viewing your sleep summaries will only be available on Google Smart Displays. You can still ask for sleep details by voice on third-party smart clocks.
  13. Calls made from speakers and Smart Displays will not show up with a caller ID unless you’re using Duo.
  14. Viewing the ambient “Commute to Work” time estimates on Smart Displays. You can still ask for commute times and get directions by voice.
  15. Checking personal travel itineraries by voice. You can still ask for flight status.
  16. Asking for information about your contacts. You can still make calls to your contacts.
  17. Asking to take certain actions by voice, such as send a payment, make a reservation, or post to social media. You can still ask Assistant to open your installed apps. 

Whether or not this is related to the recent mass layoff is up for speculation. But starting January 26th, users who use these features will be notified that they are being discontinued and will soon be defunct. 

It’ll be interesting to see how Google goes forward with its Assistant, especially since Assistant with Bard is already in the works and will soon be arriving on devices. 

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