Updated January 12th, 2024 at 14:18 IST

Google is discontinuing these 12 Assistant features from January 26

The Assistant features being removed will impact mobile, smartwatch, and smart speaker/display devices, though Google does offer workarounds for them.

Reported by: Business Desk
Google Assistant | Image:Unsplash
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New additions to Google Graveyard: Several underutilised Google Assistant features will soon be joining the infamous Google Graveyard — such as the ability to use your voice to send an email, video, or audio messages —  as the search giant introduces changes it says will make the feature easier to use. The company is also changing how the microphone works in the Google app and Pixel Search bar.

Starting January 26th, users who activate any of the 17 assistant features being removed will be notified that it’s being discontinued, with most features departing for good on February 26th, according to 9to5Google. The news comes less than a day after Google announced it was laying off around a thousand employees, some of whom worked on Google Assistant.

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The Assistant features being removed will impact mobile, smartwatch, and smart speaker/display devices, though Google does offer workarounds to replicate some lost functionality. However, some features such as the Calm meditation service integration, are being removed entirely. The alternatives users are directed to are also not directly equivalent to many of the deleted features.

List of features being discontinued

Here’s the full list of what’s being removed, as published by Google, 

  1. Playing and controlling audiobooks on Google Play Books with your voice. 
  2. Setting or using media alarms, music alarms, or radio alarms on Google Assistant-enabled devices.
  3. Accessing or managing your cookbook, transferring recipes from device to device, playing an instructional recipe video, or showing step-by-step recipes. 
  4. Managing a stopwatch on smart displays and speakers. You can still set timers and alarms.
  5. Calling a device or broadcast a message to your Google Family Group. 
  6. Use your voice to send an email, video or audio message. 
  7. Rescheduling an event in Google Calendar.
  8. Using the app launcher in Google Assistant driving mode on Google Maps to read and send messages, make calls, and control media.
  9. Asking to schedule or hear previously scheduled Family Bell announcements. 
  10. Asking to meditate with Calm.
  11. Checking personal travel itineraries by voice.
  12. Asking for information about your contacts. 

Changes in Google app

Some changes are also being made to the Google app, which will now trigger Search responses when the microphone icon is tapped. Users will no longer be able to use the Search bar microphone to complete actions like turning on lights, for example. Pixel devices will also be affected by this, as the microphone in the Pixel Search bar will now launch Voice Search instead of Assistant.

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Streamlining what the Google Assistant platform can do may make it easier to use (or at least, less convoluted) in the long run, but the loss of functionality is sure to be disruptive for the people who use those features. You can find out more information about the changes on the Google Assistant help page.

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Published January 12th, 2024 at 14:18 IST