Google Replaces Speech Services in Google Maps with AI Assistant

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Google has stripped Google Speech Services from its Google Maps mobile application and replaced it with the artificial intelligence-powered Google Assistant.

With the Google Assistant, users of the Google Maps app can ask Assistant for directions to specific locations. Now, the Google Speech Services microphone that popped up when users tapped the search bar has been replaced with a Google Assistant card that pops up from the bottom. The search bar serves up a microphone icon that users can tap to access the voice command features. Users will need to set up this feature and grant the Maps app access to their phone's microphone the first time they use it.

Once it is set up, users can start telling the Maps app where exactly they want to go. As users speak, they can watch their words turn into text on the screen to make sure the app recognized their speech correctly.

The Assistant card can also show shortcuts to quickly perform searches using voice commands, with suggestions for restaurants, hotels, groceries, coffee shops, gas stations, and more.

Users can also ask for directions to specific locations, and the app will give them step-by-step navigation, with estimated travel times and traffic updates tailored to whether the user is driving in a car, riding a bicycle, or walking.

Google Maps also recently received an update that added glanceable directions, giving users a preview of the suggested route.

Google Maps' onboarding message says the reason for the change was to provide "a faster way to search."

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