Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Thought Leadership, Speed Desk and How-To. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds.
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You'll now be able to choose among six new voices for Google Assistant for your Android phone or Google Home, Google announced at its annual I/O conference 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.
Watch this: John Legend's voice is coming to Google Assistant
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.
Watch this: Google Assistant can force your kid to say please and keeps the mic hot
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.