Tuesday, at the I/O 2018 conference, Google announced that users would soon be able to choose among , including the voice of John Legend. These new voices are powered by , an AI-based voice synthesizer created by , a subsidiary of Google UK.
WaveNet lets Google simulate entire vocabularies without needing so many actual human recordings. This will let them more easily turn popular voices -- like John Legend's, and possibly others in the future -- into the voice that powers your Google Home ($55 at Walmart) speakers and Google Assistant interactions on your phone.
If you've grown tired of Google Assistant's standard, robotic voice, you'll be happy to know that you can change it right now. Here's how.
Open the Google Assistant app on your Android or iOS device. Tap the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen and go to Settings > Preferences > Assistant Voice. There, you can choose from all eight voices currently available and you can preview each one by tapping the speaker icon to the right of each option.
The voice you select in this menu will be the voice that plays back to you when you use Assistant on your Android or iOS device, as well as on your Google Home speakers. And this voice selection works with multiple users, so each user in the household could select a different voice preference.
We tested this on an iPhone X, Galaxy S8+ and Pixel 2 XL ($190 at Amazon) and the voices were available on all three. If you do not see these voice selections available, make sure your Google Assistant app is up to date and try force-stopping the application, if possible. If that doesn't work, it may take some time for the new voices to become available to all; these updates sometimes roll out in phases.
It's important to note that John Legend's voice is not yet available. Google tells us it will be rolling out separately later this year. Also, depending on your language settings, the additional voices may not be available on your devices.
: All our coverage of this year's developer conference.
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