- Voice Action Services is a new Google voice assistant app designed to help the company comply with European regulations.
- It looks similar to Google Assistant but doesn’t provide access to Search or Google Chrome.
- Users can still download Google Assistant — or a competitor — if they want a more capable voice assistant.
Google has released a new voice assistant app called Voice Action Services in order to comply with new European regulations, reports 9to5Google. The app will not require Chrome and Google Search to work, giving devices that come without these apps preinstalled limited voice assistant functionality.
Screenshots provided on the Play Store listing for the app show it looks similar to the regular Google Assistant. However, the listing says it only interacts with your device or currently installed apps. Screenshots show it being used to turn on Bluetooth, set reminders, and create calendar entries.
Following the new European regulations — which will come into play from October 29 — manufacturers are able to release both Android phones that use Google services and Android phones that don’t.
However, in order to use Google services, manufacturers will have to get separate licenses for both the Google Application suite and for Google Search and Google Chrome. These regulations only apply to phones released in the EU.
By building an assistant that works without Google Search and Google Chrome, Google will still be able to offer out-of-the-box voice assistant functionality to users with phones that lack these apps.
Of course, users in the EU aren’t stuck with the more limited voice assistant forever. They will still be able to install the regular Google Assistant — or a competing service — and set it as the default voice assistant. Just as the EU wishes.
We still don’t know how many manufacturers — if any at all — are planning to release devices without licensing Google Chrome and Google Search. If manufacturers choose to include these apps, then that reduces the need for the basic voice assistant.
Voice Action Services is currently only available in EU countries. If you want to check it out on the Play Store, you can do so by clicking the button below.