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(Update: available now) Google Assistant getting 6 new voices today, John Legend's voice coming later this year
Google has announced that Google Assistant will receive six new voices today. Google CEO Sundar Pichai revealed the news on stage at Google I/O 2018, where he also said that John Legend’s voice would come to the AI assistant later this year.
Male and female voices are included in the new batch and users can assign different voices to respond to different family members (once it has learned their voice). They’ll be available for Google Home products, smartphones, and more.
John Legend, of course, didn’t provide an answer to every single possible question someone could ask Assistant. Instead, Google used its new AI technology, “Wavenet,” to model Legend’s unique voice based on samples. Pichai said Wavenet would enable the Google Assistant voices to be closer to how humans speak in terms of pitch, the pace, and the pauses in between.
Future updates to Assistant were also discussed on stage aimed at enabling more natural conversations. “Continued Conversations” is a new development that will let users ask follow up questions without repeating the “Hey Google” or “OK Google” hotphrases each time.
This will join a feature called “Multiple Actions” which will allow users to make more complex requests. For example, asking “can you dim the lights in the living room and the kitchen?” as a single phrase.
Finally, Google is rolling out Custom Routines today, an extension of the Routines system it released in March. With this, you can create personal routines started by a custom phrase. In a blog post, Google gave the example of using a Custom Routine for family dinner:
“Kick it off by saying ‘Hey Google, dinner’s ready’ and the Assistant can turn on your favorite music, turn off the TV, and broadcast ‘dinner time!’ to everyone in the house.”
The new features will be available in the coming weeks.