Google launches new voice 'assistant' app to comply with European regulations

Google launches new voice 'assistant' app to comply with European regulations
Following the $5 billion antitrust fine from the European Commission, Google is preparing to unbundle some of its key services into separate Play Store apps. First in line is Google Assistant.

Enter Voice Action Services – a new first-party Google app that offers basic voice control functionality. Considering that Google Assistant won't be available to manufacturers that don't sign a separate licensing agreement to offer Search and Chrome pre-installed on their phones, Voice Action Services is a light-weight alternative that offers local voice control capabilities, but cannot perform web searches.

The apps' listing description on the Google Play Store reads:

"Google’s Voice Action Services provides core functionality to support voice-based actions. These components allow you to more quickly perform actions to interact with your device or currently installed applications.

NOTE: Google’s Voice Action Services works without requiring Google Search or Google Chrome app"

Voice Action Services is available only on the European Google Play Store, and though it looks similar to Google Assistant, it is different and quite limited in its functionality. The app allows users to perform local voice-controlled interactions with their phones, such as changing settings, setting reminders and alarms, and creating calendar events.

Voice Action Services lacks any sort of web search functionality and will come bundled on devices from manufacturers that have opted not to pre-install Google services on their devices. Of course, users who still want to use Google Assistant and Search can do so by downloading the Google app from the Play Store and setting Voice Action Services as the default Assistant app on their device.

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8 Comments

1. dnomadic

Posts: 443; Member since: Feb 20, 2015

The EU decision is going to be the end of Android.... in with the new Google UI which will be Google only, which will lead to a great software experience with bad hardware...Now we are left with Apple. Somebody call LG and tell them to revive WebOs.

2. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

I seriously doubt it will be the end. Don't forget manufacturers are able to sell fully functioning Google phones, as long as they pay the fee. And my guess is this is what EU consumers want.

8. sgodsell

Posts: 7601; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Any developer can just easily create a Google Assistant voice app, and do a Google search with in their voice app. So someone could say "ask my search Assistant 'how many cups in a gallon'". Now that app will perform a Google search inside that app. The EU is looking for scape goats for easy money.

3. Venom

Posts: 3825; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

I honestly am despising the EU more and more. I am all for punishment against the big companies when justified, but this is just crooked abuse of power.

4. SpencerO

Posts: 31; Member since: Nov 29, 2017

This won't be the end of Android it's just yet another reason to move out of the EU. I don't know how anyone stands it there anymore.... soon enough there will be the normal internet and then there will be the EU approved internet behind the great wall of laws. They'll have less content available to them then North Korean's do behind their internet iron curtain of censorship.

5. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

They won't move out of the EU, it's a bigger economy than US or China. So leaving the EU would mean a serious blow to profits. And censorship? Really? Sure they go overboard at times trying to ban things like hate speech, but comparing EU internet laws to a country like North Korea, is plain shortsighted.

6. blastertoad

Posts: 50; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

With proposed copyright laws that would make it almost impossible to publicly share content on platforms like Facebook and YouTube they would be in essence silencing the voice of the people. so yes censorship is not a far stretch.

7. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

While I agree those upload laws are BS, it's hardly limiting the opinion of people or freedom of speech. I can still say I don't like our government or our king and nobody gives a rats ass about it. In NK, I would be prosecuted.

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