During its I/O 2018 keynote earlier this year, Google announced that it 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 refreshed Assistant, which now features both male and female voices, is built on a machine learning technology called Wavenet. This allowed Google to simulate an entire vocabulary using 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, “Holly” did.
This is how Google is able to more easily turn popular voices, like John Legend, and others in the future, into the voice that living in your smartphone or smart speaker.
If you were excited about trying the new voices yourself, the good news is that you can do so directly from your phone. Here’s how!
How to change your Google Assistant voice
- 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.
Note that the voice selection works with multiple users, so each household member can pick his/her favorite voice to interact with.