If you own a Samsung TV – and if you read TechRadar then I'm sure you do seeing as it's the best TV you can buy – and regularly use voice assistants with it, then you might need to consider switching which one you use because from March 1, 2024, you'll no longer be able to use Google Assistant.
The notice was posted on the FAQs page of Samsung's site and explains that the removal is due to a "change in Google's policy", although it's not yet clear what that policy is directly related to. What we do know is that there are still other options for controlling your smart home hub with one of the best Samsung TVs, including via Amazon's Alexa or Samsung's own voice assistant Bixby.
There's also Samsung's SmartThings app, which can turn your TV into the heart of your smart home by allowing you to connect and control multiple devices from a single app. Samsung has been making big changes to improve the SmartThings experience, but notably those changes don't include its own voice assistant, Bixby.
Samsung first added Google Assistant to its smart TVs in 2020 – and while there are reports from the likes of 9to5Google that it had already started phasing it out of last year's sets (although we still found it available on the QN90C), the latest is that it will be phased out from both new and existing TVs.
According to FlatpanelsHD, the impacted models include:
- All 2022 Smart TV models
- All 2021 Smart TV models
- 2020 8K and 4K QLED TVs
- 2020 Crystal UHD TVs
- 2020 Lifestyle TVs (Frame, Serif, Terrace, and Sero)
Will Google replace its Assistant with Bard?
While the update doesn't apply to other TV brands that use Google Assistant, this is just another sign that the search platform is looking to phase out its voice assistant more widely. We first started hearing whispers that Google was preparing to drop Google Assistant earlier this year, when it was noticed that the virtual helper's responses had changed from 'Assistant with Bard' to just 'Bard'.
The news followed earlier announcements that Google Assistant was seeing 17 features being dropped from it, which further confirmed to us that it was investing more in its ChatGPT challenger, Google Gemini. Machine learning has been a big focus for a lot companies so it's no wonder that the voice assistants we know today will see major enhancements in the coming months and years.
Samsung's own voice assistant, Bixby, doesn't look to be getting the same AI boost. During CES last month, we saw a glimpse of the search assistant reimagined as an Easter egg during an 'AI for all' presentation, which gave us hope that Samsung was working to develop it more. However, after hearing about all of Samsung's Galaxy AI features that are being rolled to its latest smartphones, these crucially left out any mention of adding this to Bixby so we're not holding our breath.
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Amelia became the Senior Editor for Home Entertainment at TechRadar in the UK in April 2023. With a background of more than eight years in tech and finance publishing, she's now leading our coverage to bring you a fresh perspective on everything to do with TV and audio. When she's not tinkering with the latest gadgets and gizmos in the ever-evolving world of home entertainment, you’ll find her watching movies, taking pictures and travelling.