During its I/O 2018 keynote earlier this week, Google announced that has been working on newer, more lifelike versions of its AI-infused virtual assistant. According to CEO Sundar Pichai, The goal is for the Google Assistant to to have a more natural voice that is closer to how humans speak.
The new Assistant, which features both male and female voices, is built on a machine learning technology called Wavenet. This allowed Google to simulate an entire vocabulary with much less human recording. In other words, the human actors don’t have to spend as much time in the recording studio, like the original voice “Holy” did.
That’s how Google was able to more easily turn popular voices, like John Legend’s and quite possibly others in the future, into the voice that living in your smartphone or smart speaker.
Well if you were excited about trying the new voices yourself, the good news is that you can do so right now!
Here’s how to enable them on your smartphone
- Summon the Google Assistant on your phone by saying Ok Google.
- Tap the blue icon in the upper right corner of Assistant screen.
- This will open up the Explore tab.
- Tap on the three-dot menu in the upper right corner.
- Tap on Settings.
- Choose Preferences.
- Tap on Assistant Voice.
- Choose the one you like best.
- The voice you select is the one that will answer all your questions when you use the Assistant on your Android device or Google Home speaker.
Note that the voice selection works with multiple users, so each household member can pick his/her favorite voice to interact with.
If you don’t see them, try updating your Google Assistant app and try again. Or perhaps it’s just taking a bit longer for the new feature to reach you.