Google Assistant taps Issa Rae for second celebrity cameo voice

Ask the star of HBO's Insecure to tell you a joke or give you some motivation -- and she will.

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Producer, writer and actress Issa Rae is bringing her voice to Google Assistant.


Ever wanted to ask Issa Rae a question or two? Starting Thursday, Google Assistant will let you do just that. The web giant has enlisted the producer, writer and star of the hit HBO series Insecure to provide the voice for Google's digital helper.

Rae's voice is available to answer your questions for a limited time in English in the US on any device with Google Assistant -- smart speakers like the Google Home, smart displays like the Google Home Hub and smartphones. You can enable the feature in the settings of the Google Assistant app or by telling your device "Hey Google, talk like Issa."

Rae is the second celebrity to make a cameo appearance on Google Assistant. Singer and songwriter John Legend provided the first cameo, and there were hints at the time that more cameos were waiting in the wings. The new voices are powered by WaveNet, an AI-based voice synthesizer created by DeepMind, a subsidiary of Google UK.

Most responses will continue to be in one of the original Assistant voices, but when you're in the mood to hear a joke or have your spirits lifted, Rae's voice will be there to lend a hand.

Here's some of the questions you can ask Rae to answer on Google Assistant:

  • "Do I need an umbrella today?"
  • "Tell me a secret."
  • "What do you think of me?"
  • "Give me a quote from Issa Rae."
  • "Sing a song."
  • "Tell me a joke."
  • Or ask, "How do I look?" for a confidence booster.

Google promises some surprises when you ask "Hey Google, do you have any dating advice?" or "Hey Google, are you a writer?" And the @Google Instagram channel on Thursday will offer a look at Rae's life on the set.