Google Assistant is about to lose 17 different features that the company says are “underutilized.” The changes come as the tech giant is in the midst of firing large amounts of staff, including many from its Google Assistant team, according to CNBC.
Google published a blog post Thursday detailing the feature cuts, which it says will ultimately help create a “more consistent experience” for users of the virtual assistant.
Some of the features to go include stuff like using your voice to send an email or audio message, the ability to check personal travel itineraries by voice, voice control options for Fitbit Sense and Versa 3 devices, a meditation integration with Calm, and other convenient options. The full list of features that will disappear can be viewed here.
Starting Jan. 26, users who attempt to access these features will be greeted by a notification explaining their unavailability past a certain date. To comfort app users who may have actually liked many of these features, Google had the following to say:
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.
Even if Google wants to frame these recent changes as a way to make the Assistant user experience leaner and cleaner, it’s also hard not to see it as connected to the fact that the company just downsized the team in charge of the app’s development.
Google laid off hundreds of workers from both its hardware and engineering divisions Thursday, which is the most significant cut the company has gone through since it parted ways with 12,000 workers early last year. Like other tech companies, Google has made it known that these labor cuts are due partially to its pivot towards a greater reliance on artificial intelligence.
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