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Google Assistant will lose these 17 features in the next few weeks

Most of the actions Google is removing relate to voice commands and were 'underutilized.' If you miss them, here's what you can do.
Written by Artie Beaty, Contributing Writer
Google Pixel 8 Assistant Summarize
June Wan/ZDNET

While updates to an app usually add new features, an upcoming update to the Google Assistant will actually take quite a few away. Nearly 20 features are being removed from the service, including one that specifically impacts Pixel users. 

In a post about the changes, Google explains that 17 underutilized Assistant features will soon be going away. Starting on January 26, when you use any of these features, you'll see a notification that it's soon going away. A month later, those features will disappear for good. 

Also: Hey Google: If AI is replacing Google Assistant, I have two questions

Most of the actions relate to using Assistant to control apps with your voice or perform tasks on a smart watch, smart speaker, or smart display with your voice.

Google admitted that these changes would be disruptive for some people, and offered alternatives for performing the actions. Most are direct equivalents, just without voice interaction. 

The features that are going away are:

  • Setting an alarm that uses media, music, or radio
  • Playing and controlling audiobooks on Google Play Books with your voice
  • Managing a stopwatch on smart displays and speakers
  • Using your voice to send an email, video or audio message
  • Rescheduling an event in Google Calendar with your voice
  • Using App Launcher in Google Assistant driving mode on Google Maps to read and send messages, make calls, and control media
  • Viewing your sleep summaries
  • Viewing the "Commute to Work" time estimates on smart displays
  • Seeing caller ID on calls made from speakers and smart displays (unless using Duo)
  • Checking personal travel itineraries by voice
  • Asking for information about your contacts
  • Asking to take certain actions by voice, such as sending a payment, making a reservation, or posting to social media
  • Accessing or managing your cookbooks, transferring recipes from device to device, playing an instructional recipe video, or showing step-by-step recipes
  • Using your voice to call a device or broadcast a message to your Google Family Group
  • Asking to schedule or hear previously scheduled Family Bell announcements
  • Asking to meditate with Calm
  • Controlling activities on Fitbit Sense and Versa 3 devices with your voice

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Changes are also being made to the Google app itself that especially impact Pixel users. At present, users can tap the microphone on the search bar to trigger the Google Assistant and set a timer, send a message, or handle a smart home task. For Pixel phones, this includes the search bar that's on the home screen. But soon, that will only lead to search results. Users can still activate Assistant, Google said, by saying "Hey Google" or by long pressing on the home or power button.

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