OK Google, where have you gone? MIA on Samsung TVs (AV)

OK Google, the familiar way to control smart devices is to be removed from Samsung TVs by 1 March 2024. Gone too, we expect, will be Chromecast.

Why? The Samsung website states, ‘Due to a change in Google’s policy, Google Assistant will no longer be available on Samsung TVs beginning March 1, 2024.’

It affects all models from 2020 onwards.

  • Smart TV models
  • Smart TV models
  • 8K and 4K QLED TVs
  • Crystal UHD TVs
  • Lifestyle TVs (Frame, Serif, Terrace, and Sero)

Samsung says to use Bixby, Alexa or SmartThings instead.

Hmmn – OK Google, Why?

We cannot speculate, but we can say that Samsung appears to have issues paying royalties to third parties. It will not implement Dolby Vision (rumoured royalty of about US$3 per TV or less for Smartphones and tablets) in favour of its royalty-free, house-developed HDR10+. And now Samsung’s IAMF spatial sound format will try to kill off Dolby Atmos.

And Google has plans for OK Google, giving it the power of AI DeepMind Gemini and Bard. Maybe that is a road too far for Samsung, which has its own AI plans (that oddly rely on Google’s DeepMind and Gemini Nova and Pro).

But I want to use you

The only alternative is to purchase a Chromecast with Google TV in HD ($59) or 4K ($99) and plug it into a spare HDMI port. This will eschew Samsung’s Tizen OS except where you want to view free-to-air programs.

OK Google is the most convenient way to find channels, content and more on any TV. It also removes Samsung data hoovering – OK, Google still collects data on what you watch.

Other TV brands are fine

Brands such as LG (LG webOS), Sony (Google TV), and TCL (Google TV) are fine.