Google Assistant could soon learn to recognize your voice

Google Assistant could soon learn to recognize your voice

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9to5Google has discovered hidden strings of code in recent iterations of the Google app that could indicate a big improvement is coming to Google Assistant. Already widely considered to be the best digital assistant offered on devices today, the code discovered by 9to5Google seems to discuss a voice recognition system that would allow Assistant to recognize your voice.

The strings of code related to “Personalized speech recognition” could appear in the Google Assistant settings with a description that reads, “Store audio recordings on this device to help Google Assistant get better at recognizing what you say. Audio stays on this device and can be deleted any time by turning off personalized speech recognition. Learn more.”

Google already has a support article about what is called “federated learning.” The support page says, “Federated learning is a privacy-enhancing technology that we use to improve models on device without sending users’ raw data to Google servers. Google Assistant uses federated learning to improve “Hey Google.” When you ask, “Hey Google, what’s the weather tomorrow?” an on-device model detects that you said “Hey Google,” then sends your query to Google Assistant.”

Google notes that “this model might activate when you didn’t intend it to, for example, if there is a noise that sounds like ‘Hey Google.’ Also, it might not trigger when you did say ‘Hey Google.’ We now use federated learning to refine the ‘Hey Google’ model and try to reduce misactivations and misses.”

Learning your voice could help Google Assistant transcribe more accurately some of the common phrases you say often and contacts you mention the most. On some of Google’s smart home devices such as the 2nd-gen Nest Hub and Mini, Google uses a machine learning chip that processes the queries and tasks you vocalize the most in order for Assistant to deliver “a much faster response time.”

Google could be looking to expand this capability from your smart home devices to your Android-powered mobile products by asking you to opt in if interested,. The files would stay on your device until you disable the system

You might have noticed recently that when calling your credit card companies, some are now pointing out that they are capturing samples of your voice to match with future phone calls for security purposes. Also, Google notes that “If you turn this feature off, your Assistant will be less accurate at recognizing names and other words that you say frequently. All audio used to improve speech recognition for you will be deleted from this device.”

It’s all part of Google’s attempt to allow users to have more natural conversations with Google Assistant starting next year. During Google I/O 2022, the company revealed that the Assistant will be able keep a conversation going simply by making “eye contact” so that things can get done without having to say the “Hey Google” hotword.

As many of you Pixel 6 series users know, certain actions called Quick Phrases can be said to Google Assistant to have the tasks done without having to say “Hey Google” first. These tasks include:

  • Set a timer or alarm
  • Ask for the time
  • Turn the lights on or off
  • Cancel a timer or alarm
  • Dim or brighten the lights
  • Ask for the weather

This summer, Google is reportedly planning to  add Quick Phrases to the Nest Hub Max.

While it isn’t clear how many Android phones are sold each year on the basis of Google Assistant’s overwhelming superiority over Siri, many iPhone users end up installing the iOS Google Assistant app and using it instead of Siri on their iPhone. While Google Assistant does work better on an Android phone, installing the iOS version of the app will allow you to set your iPhone’s alarm using Assistant, and call or text friends and family members.



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