Google Just Killed One of Its Best Phone Features

Google Just Killed One of Its Best Phone Features

Google has a way of killing off some of its best features and apps. In fact, there’s an entire website dedicated to the apps killed by the tech giant. Now, Google is also taking one of the best features of its phone app to the chopping block—the ability to search for nearby businesses.

Google first announced this upcoming change back in February, stating that “we’ve found a very small number of people use this feature, and the vast majority of users go to Google Search or Maps when seeking business-related phone numbers.” Now, though, it has finally pulled the plug: 9to5Google reports that the feature has officially vanished from the Google phone app.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and say that Nearby Places was my favorite Google feature ever. It was pretty useful, though, when it worked. That’s the real kicker here, which is that the feature was often broken on devices, with it even disabled on a lot of newer devices. Having existed since the Pixel 2 shipped, the Nearby Searches feature was a long-standing reason to use Google’s phone app.

But now that it is gone, you’ll have to turn to Google Maps to find the businesses and other information you need to contact folks. This, of course, makes a lot more sense for Google, which relies heavily on the money that it can make off advertisements pushed across its various products. You can’t put advertisements in the phone app that people use every day, so it’s no surprise that the feature hasn’t seen a lot of love in recent years—something that the folks at ArsTechnica were quick to point out in their report.

Whether or not that fact played a part in Google’s decision to kill off the feature doesn’t matter, though. All that matters is that it is dead and gone. And it isn’t the only feature that Google has killed off recently, either. Google Assistant saw a huge swath of features pulled from it earlier this year, including some really handy ones that a lot of people used, like the ability to set and use media, music, and radio alarms. You’ll now have to rely on routines for that functionality. Google also removed the option to send an email, video, or audio message using Google Assistant, as well as options for playing and controlling audiobooks on Google Play Books.


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