Google is no stranger to making unannounced changes to apps and services, and sometimes the changes don't even show up for all users or devices. At least some Android users have noticed an alteration to the Google Search widget today. The microphone icon is gone, replaced with Discover and Lens.
For most people, the Google bar has a microphone icon on the far right, but that's not Assistant. The microphone opens Google Voice Search, which doesn't have all of the features of Assistant but is available in more languages. Naturally, this change will upset people who use that feature extensively. At the same time, shortcuts to Discover and Lens can be useful. You can't please everyone.
Google is clearly pushing Assistant across its platform, so it wouldn't be shocking to see this change come to all devices. To be clear: we're talking about the home screen widget from the Google app itself. Nothing has happened to the embedded search bar in the Pixel Launcher and similar stock launchers that already have an Assistant button. Most stock launchers are already fully on the Assistant train.
Another test for the widget has showed up, this time keeping the voice search button but also adding a home icon that takes you to your Discover feed. It's reminiscent of a server-side change we spotted over a year ago, so it seems that Google is still tinkering with that idea. Thanks, Xavier!