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Google kills semi-hidden assistant feature, Snapshot

The often-overlooked Google Assistant Snapshot feature has been removed from Android devices to the dismay of many users. Snapshot gave smartphone owners the ability to see what each day was like with quick information on the weather and traffic, as well as personalized notifications displaying calendar information for appointments and events. Despite its usefulness, Snapshot has disappeared with seemingly no replacement being considered.

As first reported by 9to5Google, the feature was meant to be something of a successor to Google Now, the company’s previous personal assistant effort, but was never given the attention it needed to thrive. Although many users will likely mourn the “death” of Google Snapshot, the number of mourners is far from a comprehensive list of all Android device owners due to the feature’s semi-hidden nature.

For reasons unknown to most, Snapshot was essentially a secret Android feature that wasn’t given much in terms of a spotlight. It was accessed solely through a small, easily missed icon on the Assistant screen and was hardly mentioned in other locations. This caused Snapshot to be a truly underutilized feature that most Android users simply didn’t know existed, meaning that many people will continue using their devices as if nothing’s changed.

Woman holding an Android phone with Google Snapshot displayed.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Those who have relied on Snapshot are kind of out of luck for the foreseeable future. Sure, there are separate apps to see weather, traffic, and calendar information, however, Snapshot’s quick compilation of pertinent information was a helpful feature that simplified things for users. The only solution that Google has provided for former Snapshot users is a Help Center page that can direct them to individual apps that host the information previously displayed in Snapshot.

Google Assistant doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, but Snapshot’s retirement seems to signal a trend for Google’s assistant features. The company hasn’t been able to confidently support each effort in any major way before deciding to move on to a new product. It happened with Google Now and now it’s happened to Snapshot, causing all eyes in the room to be on Google Assistant as a whole. Questions now seem to be about how long it will be supported and what Google has in store next that it might also neglect before moving on.

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Peter Hunt Szpytek
A podcast host and journalist, Peter covers mobile news with Digital Trends and gaming news, reviews, and guides for sites…
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