What you need to know
- The microphone icon in the search bar on the Pixel Launcher home screen has now been reset.
- The change was announced earlier this month alongside the removal of 17 Google Assistant features.
- The microphone button was previously a shortcut to Google Assistant. Now, he will answer the questions using Google search results.
It's never fun to see a product or app loses The function is rather earned, but that's what happens with Google Assistant. Earlier this month, Google announced that it would remove 17 “underutilized” features from Assistant. The move came amid a wave of layoffs, which have since been confirmed to continue.
The feature purge has now begun, and Pixel Launcher users will notice that the microphone icon in the search bar no longer launches Assistant (via 9to5Google). Shifting the purpose of this icon from serving as a Google Assistant shortcut to a Google search widget is now being “rolled out” for lack of a better phrase.
However, Google does not consider this change to be a feature removal. Instead, the company said in a blog post that the goal of the shift is to create a “more consistent experience.” Google also said that the most common use case for the microphone icon is to get Google search results, so perhaps removing the Assistant shortcut will benefit some users.
Officially, the microphone icon in the search bar in Pixel Launcher will now activate voice search. You can ask Google a question, and it will respond to you with search results.
However, activating Google Assistant may be slower in some cases after removing the shortcut. You can still launch Assistant by saying “Hey Google” or by long-pressing the home button or power button. Some actions that require a voice assistant may be more difficult to complete, especially if you're not in a position to say “Hey Google.”
The good thing is that Google is actively communicating the change to users. After the user receives the update to reset the microphone icon, they will be greeted with a pop-up explaining what's new. “Access to Google Assistant has been moved,” the message says. “The microphone button in the search bar now opens Google voice search instead of Assistant.”
One potential concern is that many users have muscle memory from using Assistant through the Pixel Launcher for years, which could cause some frustration as you adjust. This is the first major change, likely for many, that comes before Google's overhaul of Assistant as it integrates Bard and AI.
“Typical beer trailblazer. Hipster-friendly web buff. Certified alcohol fanatic. Internetaholic. Infuriatingly humble zombie lover.”