The Google Assistant has gone from a few tricks pony to full-on sci-fi-esque post Google’s I/O 2018 developer conference. Google is adding so many features to its personal voice assistant, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the Google Assistant is en route to get its biggest ever revamp, this year. Many of the features that Google announced at I/O 2018, for the Google Assistant, aren’t ready for prime time yet and would be added in due course of time. In the coming months. But at least one is rolling out right now: six new voices for the Google Assistant.
Being conversational is one thing (even Amazon’s Alexa can do that) but Google’s new voices for the Google Assistant are dangerously close to mimicking the real thing. They sound dangerously natural. What with Google’s massive scale vis-a-vis AI and machine learning, it was only about time that we started seeing such things come to life. So bottomline is, the Google Assistant is getting six new voices, in addition to its poster child Holly, and R&B singer and songwriter John Legend will be coming to it by the end of this year, Google has confirmed.
If you’re an Android user, you can start using the brand new Google Assistant, right now. The update is now rolling out to all Android devices that support the Google Assistant, including phone, tablet, and Google Home hardware. Interestingly, the six new voices aren’t part of the Android P Beta program in the case of the Pixel phones for now. I am not sure whether that’s a global thing or something that’s specific to region. But, here’s the thing, you can’t get the Assistant’s new voices if you’re on a Pixel that’s running Android P Beta. At least, it didn’t work for me. If you were able to get it, please make sure to leave a comment down below.
Every other Android device, that supports the Google Assistant, however can help you choose your new voices. And it’s a cross-platform and cross-device thing, which means if you change the voice of your Assistant on one platform/device, the change will reflect across all your platforms/devices. Even the Pixel that’s running Android P Beta. For now, the only way that you can get different Google Assistant voices, is you choose to tie your devices with different Google accounts.
Now that we have all of that out of our way, here’s how you can get access to all of the Google Assistant’s new voices:
1.Open the Google Assistant app by holding down the home button on your phone.
2.Click the blue icon at the top right of the Google Assistant box. This will take you to the explore page. Click the three dots icon in the top right-hand corner to bring out the menu. In the menu, choose Settings. This will take you to the Assistant settings page.
3.In the Assistant settings page, hit the Preferences option.
4.Your Preferences column should have an Assistant voice tab (if not, you’ll need to update your Google app to the latest version).
5.Hit the Assistant voice tab and you’ll be taken to the new Google Assistant voice options.
6.You’ll now have eight voice options to choose from in total. Google doesn’t have a name for each of its new voices yet. Neither does it tell you anything about what to expect from them via hints. You’ll have to manually tap on each of these voices to hear them out and then you can choose to set one as default.
Adding new voices isn’t the only thing that Google announced at I/O. The most striking announcement was Duplex, a smart feature that lets the Assistant make phone calls for you on your behalf. Duplex can “make reservations, schedule appointments, and get holiday hours from businesses. Just provide the date and time, and your Assistant will call the business to coordinate for you.” Just to ensure people aren’t uncomfortable — the feature is undoubtedly creepy — Google has confirmed that Duplex will come with disclosure meaning it will let the other side know that they’re talking to a bot possibly before starting the conversation.
In addition to new voices and Duplex, the Google Assistant will support a new feature that Google is calling Continued Conversation. This will allow the Assistant to hold more natural conversations with you. Also, you won’t need to say hey, Google after every query. You can continue to chat with the Assistant without saying the wake word, and a simple thank you, would be a cue for it to stop. Also, just to ensure, kids aren’t acting too bossy around it, Google is pushing for a feature called (pretty) please for obvious reasons.