Goodbye, Google-robo-Assistant. Hello, John Legend.
You'll now be able to choose among six new voices forfor your Android phone or , Google announced at its annual within spitting distance of its headquarters in Mountain View, California. A seventh one, planned for a later release, happens to be celebrity singer John Legend.
But if the crooner isn't to the taste of everyone who uses the device, like your Google Home, you can assign different Google Assistant voices to respond to different people. So you might have John Legend talk to you, but another new voice to answer your kids. You'll first need to train Google Assistant to recognize your timbre and cadence, and there are a variety of male and female voices to choose from.
Google Assistant currently lets you pick between one female (this is the default) and one male voice. That brings your total to eight choices.
What makes all this possible is a new technology called "Wavenet," which allows Google to simulate an entire vocabulary with much less human recording. In other words, the human actor doesn't have to spend as much time in the recording studio to become a Google Assistant. With Wavenet, Google could potentially lure in other celebrities to voice your Google Assistant.
John Legend's voice and other Google Assistant voices will roll out later this year.
: All our coverage of this year's developer conference.
: Experimental technology called Duplex, rolling out soon in a limited release, makes you think you're talking to a real person.