In 2013, Google introduced a nifty little feature in its search engine tool that had nothing to do with searching: a timer. All users had to do was search for something like “14 minute timer” or “timer until 2pm” and Google would generate a widget and start the countdown automatically. People were already spending a lot of time on Google by then, so maybe it would have been a good idea to let people keep track of it there. Well, now that timer seems to have run out of time, at least on the desktop.
You can always give your phone a voice command (via search or Google Assistant) to set a timer and it will. But entering a text command on mobile or desktop to set a timer will no longer work – users are mostly treated to YouTube results instead.
A Hacker News user talked about it today, but it seems Round table got wind of this change ten days ago through the Deccan Herald. I’m only taking note of this search thread because it’s rather indicative of the obsolescence of a Google search-based timer (or stopwatch, don’t forget it could count too!) since we’ve d other ways to go far our clock app to our clock app and instantly set it to count where we want it to go.
More importantly, these days we want these timers (and the reminder they’re meant to represent) available wherever we want them. It’s been a challenge when we have so many devices on so many software platforms these days, but at least there’s some hope that Google Assistant will soon build bridges to fill the gaps. It could arrive quite early in a Pixel Feature Drop.
We contacted Google for comment. We’ll see if anyone out there takes the time to respond and update this story when they do.