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Business News/ Technology / App News/  Saying goodbye to 'Voice Commands': Google Assistant removes THESE features for 2024

Saying goodbye to 'Voice Commands': Google Assistant removes THESE features for 2024

Discontinued features include playing audiobooks, setting media alarms, managing cookbooks, and more, while voice commands for certain actions will no longer be supported.

Representational image (AFP)Premium
Representational image (AFP)

Google is removing several features from its Assistant to enhance user experience and focus on quality and reliability. In a recent blog post, the tech giant announced changes that will come into effect starting January 26, 2024. 

These adjustments aim to streamline the Assistant's capabilities, prioritizing commonly used features and investing in technology to improve their performance, said the American tech giant.

One of the major changes involves discontinuing support for certain underutilized features. Users triggering these features will receive notifications informing them that the functionalities will no longer be available after a specific date. Some of the affected features include playing and controlling audiobooks on Google Play Books with voice commands, setting or using media alarms on Assistant-enabled devices, and managing cookbooks or instructional recipe videos.

Users will no longer be able to manage stopwatches on Smart Displays and Speakers with their voice, but timers and alarms can still be set. Similarly, voice commands for calling devices or broadcasting messages to Google Family Groups will be discontinued, although users can still broadcast messages to devices within their homes.

Sending emails, video, or audio messages using voice commands will also be phased out, though users can still make calls and send text messages. Rescheduling events in Google Calendar through voice commands will no longer be supported, but users can schedule new events through alternative methods.

Voice control for activities on Fitbit Sense and Versa 3 devices will no longer be available, requiring users to use device buttons to start, stop, pause, and resume activities. Sleep summaries will only be viewable on Google Smart Displays, with third-party smart clocks still allowing users to inquire about sleep details by voice.

In addition, calls made from speakers and Smart Displays will no longer display caller IDs unless users are utilizing Duo. Ambient "Commute to Work" time estimates on Smart Displays will no longer be visible, but users can still ask for commute times and directions by voice. Checking personal travel itineraries by voice will also be phased out, with users encouraged to ask for flight status instead. 

Similarly, users will no longer be able to ask for information about their contacts by voice, although calls to contacts can still be made.

Voice commands for certain actions, such as sending a payment, making a reservation, or posting to social media, will no longer be supported. Instead, users are encouraged to ask Assistant to open their installed apps for these tasks.

In addition to feature changes, the microphone icon will now exclusively trigger search results in response to user queries, focusing on its most popular use case. Users can still activate Assistant by saying "Hey Google" or using the traditional long press on the home or power button. However, the microphone icon in the Search bar will no longer complete actions like turning on lights or sending messages. Users with older versions of the Google app (v12 and older) will be prompted to upgrade to ensure access to the latest version of Google Assistant.



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Published: 12 Jan 2024, 11:17 AM IST
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