Google today announced three new voice-activated features Assistant It will make handling it easier and more natural.
The first is to make it easier to start a conversation with the Assistant just by looking at a device like the Nest Hub, with a built-in camera, and talking to the Assistant without using the wake-up word “Hey Google”. This will roll out later this week to users who pair the Nest Hub Max with an Android device, while iOS users will have to wait a few more weeks.
The other new feature is expanded quick phrase support, i.e. the ability to use a quick phrase to answer a phone call, turn off the lights, or ask about the weather, all without having to use an alert word as well. This means that in the future, you can simply set a timer without saying “Hey Google”. Google notes that this is a subscription feature and will be using the company’s Voice Match feature, which is already available on the Nest Hub today.
Finally, Google is also making some changes to the way Assistant handles your requests so it can better understand your intent, even if it has to correct you or pause while thinking about how you want to phrase it. Your question, for example.
“We know that when you evaluate real conversations, they are full of nuance,” said Nino Tosca, Director of Product Management for the Google Speech and Google Assistant team. “People say ‘ah,’ interrupts when two people are talking back and forth, pauses, and self-corrects — but we realized that with two people communicating, these things are normal. They don’t really hinder people who understand each other.” [ … ] We try to bring these natural behaviors to Google Assistant so the user doesn’t have to think before saying a command – or process the command in their head, making sure they get every word right. , then try to make it come out completely. We want you to be able to talk to the Google Assistant just as you would another human being and we will understand the meaning and be able to carry out your intent.
Unfortunately, this feature is still in development but is expected to be rolled out in early 2023. I’ve always used Google I/O to show off upcoming features, although some of them never got to work, so we’ll have to wait and see where this feature goes.
Overall, though, these seem like nice additions to the Google Assistant feature set. Saying “Hey Google” is aging fast, and it still sounds a little weird. In fact, I can’t help but feel the shine has faded a bit from the assistant (and its rivals). Personally, although there are a bunch of Nest Hubs and Google Homes around the house, I don’t think I’ve used them for anything other than turning on the lights using the touchscreen and setting the occasional cook timer for the past few months. Google has big ambitions about ‘ambient computing’, but when Assistant misunderstands you and starts randomly playing Justin Bieber’s video on your TV, it looks like the future still needs some sorting. Anything that removes these barriers is welcome.
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