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Google Assistant gets major changes as underutilized tools will soon no longer be supported

Google is discarding some of its least-used tools on Google Assistant. In a blog post, the company shared the latest changes it is making to its Assistant.

Today, Google announced that it will be prioritizing the features users love the most, and giving up on the ones that are not frequently used. It shared a list of several features that will be unavailable starting January 26, 2024. In the Help Center post it also added alternatives to the affected features.

If a user tries to click on the capability that is going to be removed, they will be notified with the particular date after which it will no longer be available.

Some features that will no longer be available on Google Assistant include controlling and playing audiobooks on Google Play Books through voice commands, managing a stopwatch on Smart Displays and Speakers, asking to meditate with the Calm app, and more.

It appears that most of the features that are being discarded are voice-activated. We see that Google has removed the ability to use voice commands to send emails, video, and audio messages. However, it is still letting users send text messages and make calls.

Furthermore, individuals with Fitbit Sense and Versa 3 devices will have to resort to tapping buttons to complete actions such as pause, start, and play. They can no longer use voice controls on these.

On the other hand, Google mentioned that the Microphone icon in the Google app will present Search results when a user asks a question. Users can also continue to activate Google Assistant the way they normally would, for example, by saying “Hey Google.”

However, the microphone icon in the Search bar will not complete actions such as “turn on the lights” or “send a message.” Another change Google has made is that the microphone icon in the Pixel Search bar will activate Voice Search and not Google Assistant.

Lastly, Google mentioned that users will be encouraged to update their Google application if they are running v12 and older. The company also noted:

“We know change can be disruptive, but we’ll do everything we can to make these transitions as smooth as possible. While Google Assistant has evolved a lot over the last seven years, one thing remains true: Our improvements are driven by your feedback. And we want to hear it. Just say, “Hey Google, send feedback” and share your comments with us.”

Today, Google also shared that it has conducted major layoffs in its Assistant, Google Devices, and Service divisions. It seems that the company is making major changes to its structure as it is also combining Pixel, Fibit, and Nest hardware teams.

It is likely the aftershocks of this were shown in the latest changes to Google Assistant and other features in Fitbit and Pixel.

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