Google is removing two features from the desktop version of its popular web browser Chrome. The first feature has been removed with the recent release of Chrome 46, while the second will be removed with the upcoming release of Chrome 47.
The ability to say “OK Google,” which has been a browser feature since May 2014, to launch a voice search while Chrome was open has been removed. This change affects all desktop versions of Chrome, including Windows, Mac, and Linux. Mobile and Chromebook versions of Chrome will still include this feature. The feature was removed as Google indicated that not many users were using this feature on desktop platforms. Voice search isn’t completely gone however, but instead of saying “OK Google” to activate it, you’ll have to click on the microphone icon in the Google search box instead.
The second feature that is being removed is the Notification Center, again, only on desktop version of Chrome with the Chrome OS version being left intact. Presumably built as part of Google’s attempt to bring Google Now-like functionality to the desktop, the feature pops up notification cards on your computer, even when your browser is closed. Google also found that not many people were using the feature on desktop, in fact many were intentionally disabling it, removing notifications from Chrome altogether. Google has indicated that this feature will be removed in “the upcoming release,” and since Chrome 46 was just released, that should mean this feature will no longer be available in Chrome 47. Developers with Chrome extensions that utilize this feature may have to make changes as “notifications sent solely to the notification center will now result in an error, and API events tied to the notification center will no longer work.”
What do you think about Google’s decision to remove these two features? Are they something you used, or something you’re glad to see go away? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.