Starting from January 26, changes will take place in Google Assistant, involving removing and modifying dozens of features to improve quality and reliability. The company has also announced the layoffs of hundreds of employees who worked on Google Assistant. In the context of these changes, the question arises of whether the artificial intelligence technology represented by Google Assistant has a future and whether the new Bard processor will displace it.
What changes have taken place?
So, what changes will happen to Google Assistant on January 26:
- Playing and managing audiobooks on Google Play books using voice. Using voice commands to play and control audiobooks on the Google Play Books platform from a mobile device.
- Setting up and using media alarms on Google Assistant-enabled devices. With Google Assistant support, the ability to create and use media alarms for setting alarms with music or radio station sounds on devices.
- Accessing and managing a cookbook with Google Assistant. Accessing culinary books, transferring recipes between devices, playing instructional videos, and displaying step-by-step recipes using voice commands through Google Assistant.
- Utilizing Google Assistant to search for recipes online and on YouTube. Using Google Assistant for voice search of culinary recipes on the Internet and on YouTube.
- Managing Timers and Stopwatches on Smart Displays and Speakers:
- Controlling and setting timers, alarms, and stopwatches using voice commands on devices with smart displays and speakers.
- Voice commands for device communication and family group broadcasts. Using voice commands to call a device or broadcast messages to the Google Family Group, allows communication within your home.
- Sending voice-based emails, video, and audio messages. Utilizing voice commands to compose and send emails, as well as create video and audio messages. The capability to make calls and send text messages using voice commands is retained.
- Scheduling events on Google Calendar via voice. Transferring events to Google Calendar through voice commands, providing the ability to plan new events.
- Voice control on Google Maps through the Assistant driving mode. Accessing the app launcher panel on Google Maps through Google Assistant’s driving mode for reading and sending messages, making calls, and managing media files using voice commands. The voice control feature on Google Maps remains accessible in the same manner.
- Managing Family Bell announcements. Requesting the scheduling or playback of previously scheduled Family Bell announcements. Users have the option to create a customized program with similar functionality.
- Meditation requests in the calm program. Prompting the Calm program for meditation sessions. Users can continue to seek meditation options from media providers like YouTube.
- Voice commands on Fitbit devices. Voice control actions will no longer be available on Fitbit Sense and Versa 3 devices. Users must use the physical buttons on the device for starting, stopping, pausing, and resuming activities. Voice control actions remain accessible on Pixel Watches.
- Sleep summary display on Google Smart displays. Sleep summaries will only be visible on Google Smart Displays. Users can still inquire about sleep details using voice commands on third-party smartwatches.
- Caller ID for duo calls. Calls made from smart displays and speakers will not display the caller’s ID unless Duo is used.
- Commute time ratings on smart displays. Viewing estimated commute times to work on smart displays. Users can still inquire about travel times and receive voice-guided directions.
- Checking personal routes using voice commands. Verifying personal routes using voice commands. Users can still inquire about flight statuses.
- Requesting contact information. Requesting information about your contacts. Users can still make phone calls to their contacts.
- Voice commands for specific actions. Asking to perform specific actions through voice commands, such as sending a payment, booking a ticket, or posting on social media. Users can still ask the Assistant to open installed apps.
There will also be changes to the Google app
What exactly will change:
- Microphone Icon Launches Google Search. Clicking on the microphone icon will now trigger Google Search results instead of activating Assistant.
- “Hey Google” or Long Press for Assistant. Uttering “Hey Google” or long-pressing the “Home” or “Activate” button on Android phones, or opening the Google Assistant app on iOS, will still work to activate Assistant.
- Microphone Button on Pixel Search Panel. The microphone button on the Pixel search panel will activate Google’s voice search, not Assistant.
Global dismissal of employees
These changes in Google’s policy regarding Google Assistant have led to the mass layoff of hundreds of employees who were previously working in this area. The company states that this step is a result of a desire to focus on improving the quality and reliability of the service, but it also limits their ability to integrate new artificial intelligence technologies. This has affected employees involved in key aspects of engineering, device development, and service provision, including those responsible for Pixel, Fitbit, Nest, and, of course, the development of Google Assistant.
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