If the Google Assistant struggles to pronounce your name, a fix is finally on the way
If you’ve invested in a Google Home kit, such as Google Nest smart displays, SONOS speakers, and more, there are plenty of brilliant features to sink your teeth into. The hands-free Google Assistant can view the latest weather forecast, nearby store hours and traffic conditions, and answer any burning general knowledge questions. But one thing this super smart AI couldn’t do was learn to pronounce your name.
While it was possible to learn the Google Assistant – the talkative AI that powers the Google Nest speakers, Android smartphones, Google Chromecast, and more – what your name is, if the virtual assistant couldn’t pronounce it, you’d have stacked it up with its confused pronunciation for life. In all fairness, that’s almost worse than Google Assistant not knowing your name!
But that is changing.
Google is slowly rolling out a new feature that allows you to teach the AI helper to pronounce difficult names. This applies to your name, everyone who lives in the same Google Home household, and all contacts. That should help if you want to use the Google Assistant to add an event to your calendar when you meet someone with an unusual name or start a call to them.
All you need to do is repeat the name out loud and the Google Assistant will listen and remember the way you said it.
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The next time you issue a voice command of the same name, Google can recognize the pronunciation and repeat it correctly when the name reappears. Unfortunately, this only works for those who have their Google Assistant set to English for now.
However, Google says it hopes to add support for more languages soon.
The pronunciation adjustment comes alongside another common update. Google is trying to improve the Google Assistant so that it responds more naturally during calls. For example, if you stumble or correct yourself during a sentence, it now knows to ignore part of the request. For example, if you say, “Hey Google, set an alarm for 7 – oh no, um – 6 in the morning”, the first part will be discarded for the correction.
Google says these improvements only work with timers and alarms to begin with, but it’s a promising sign of things to come.
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