Google Assistant seems to be an increasingly lower priority for Google as it shifts its focus to more advanced AI. The company has been quietly killing off services and tools for Assistant and is now taking another step. Specifically, Google has quietly announced that it is ending software support for third-party smart displays that run on its voice assistant platform.
Displays from OEMs such as LG, Lenovo, and JBL will no longer get updates for Google Assistant. They will continue to work for now and have assistant features, but their performance will decline over time. Although, they will also function specifically as Bluetooth speakers for audio playback. Yay.
Google Assistant smart displays are devices that combine a touchscreen and a speaker with Google's voice assistant. They allow users to interact with Google services and smart home devices by voice or touch. They also support video calls and meetings through Google Meet.
In 2019, Google Nest Hub made its debut running a custom OS and with Assistant packaged inside. That OS is based on Google Chromecast and other devices from OEMs arrived. Google says it will continue to support the Nest Hub.
Google's decision was quietly made public on the Google Duo support page with no specific announcement. With no updates on the horizon the devices are essentially dead. That could mean the potential to pick one up on a bargain price. However, it seems all the listed displays are out of stock.
“Important: Google no longer provides software updates for these third-party Smart Displays: Lenovo Smart Display (7″, 8″ & 10″), JBL Link View and LG Xboom AI ThinQ WK9 Smart Display. This could impact the quality of video calls and meetings.”
Evolving from Google Assistant to Deeper AI
The move is another sign of Google's lack of commitment to its voice assistant platform, which has seen several products and features being discontinued or neglected in recent years. For example, Google has killed off its Nest Dropcam security camera, its Android Things OS, its Fitbit fitness tracker brand and its Works with Nest smart home program.
Google is also reorganizing its Assistant team to focus more on Bard, an AI-powered chatbot that can converse with users through text or speech. Bard is based on a similar technology to ChatGPT and Microsoft's Bing Chat.
Google Bard is currently available as an experimental feature in some of Google's apps, such as Photos and Maps. The company plans for Bard to spread across its ecosystem, including Search. It will likely fully replace Assistant in time.
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