The Google App’s Removal of its Useful Shortcuts is Intentional
Since the introduction of the Google Assistant, Google has been trying to find a new goal for their standalone Google application. This used to be called Google Now and it was to be a predictive personal assistant, but it has recently been re-branded into the Google Feed. Google has been using it to surface articles from around the web that they think you would enjoy reading. A past update added a row of category icons right under the search box for things like the weather, food & drink, sports, and more. However, the community has noticed these shortcut features are no longer present and a community manager from Google confirms this is intentional.
The new Google Feed has had a polarizing reception from the community. Some feel they are surfacing articles that they don’t have any interest in instead of giving focus to other widgets such as your stocks, the weather, and favorite sports teams. But there are some who have been okay with the changes and use it daily to skim through some important articles of the day that they may have missed. These category icons that were put up at the top of the feed were also both hated and loved by different segments of the community.
Google loves to experiment with new features and services in an attempt to see what sticks. If a new feature or service gets used a lot then they’ll continue to invest resources to evolve it over time. But, if something doesn’t get used as much as they are hoping for then the feature or service gets the axe (RIP Google Reader). Now, we weren’t told exactly why Google decided to remove these icon shortcuts from the Google Feed page, but it was likely due to poor adoption rate.
The only other reason why they would have chosen to remove it would be to revamp it so that it can be implemented into Google Feed in a different way. Andy B., the Search & Assistant Community Manager, responded to this inquiry in the company’s support forum and said this change was due to the company moving to the new feed experience for the Search app. However, he does recommend that you leave in-app feedback if it’s a feature you miss.