It’s time to say hello to Google Assistant and goodbye to voice search. The company is removing the familiar blue and red mic and in its place, the Assistant. The news was first reported by 9to5google.
Greg Sterling of Search Engine Land asked Google for more context, but its pretty clear that the company wants to replace basic speech-to-text voice recognition with the improved capabilities of the Assistant.
During Google’s developer conference in 2017, Sundar Pichai (Google’s CEO) said that the company was shifting is orientation from “mobile-first” to “AI first.” The difference s the multi-platform emphasis and the expanding capabilities of the Assistant, which is more conversational, and possibly transactional than ordinary search.
It seems that the standard “voice search” blue and red mic still appears to be accessible on Chrome for Android and on the Google app and Chrome browser for iOS. Right now, it’s not clear when Google will try integrating the Assistant directly into the Google app for iOS.
Previously, Google announced that the Assistant resided on a billion devices. The Assistant is now the company’s “marquee” product, which spans across multiple devices and platforms. To Google, the Assistant and its cross-devices ecosystem is a long term competitive advantage over its rivals.
In a recent study from Adobe, it was found that 48% of consumers are using voice for “general web searches.” Those numbers will be going up as the Assistant gradually becomes the primary way that people access information on mobile devices.