Google may be on its way to solving one of the biggest problems with smart speakers: they only work with a single account.
Android Police spotted signs in the latest version of the Google Home app that suggest the company is working on multi-user support. The code also contains references to a device being able to “recognize your voice” and needing to be trained, which suggests that user switching could happen by Google’s device identifying who’s speaking.
Every company with a smart speaker should be working on this
Google declined to comment on whether it’s adding multi-user support when asked by The Verge, but it offered this brief statement: “We continue developing new experiences for Google Home, but we don’t have specific updates to share at this time,” a spokesperson said.
It’s hard to imagine that Google — and any other company with a smart speaker — isn’t working on this, as it’s one of these devices’ biggest limitations. Having an always-on digital assistant is great, but not if your commands are going to add things to your partner, roommate, or family member’s account. Right now, all the big ones only support a single user.
Coincidentally enough, it just came out earlier this week that Amazon is working on getting Alexa to distinguish between voices, too. Time said the feature is pretty much complete, but that Amazon is working through some final implementation issues, including privacy concerns. (Alexa devices technically support multiple users already, but you have to manually switch between them.)
It’s worth keeping in mind that Google’s multi-user support could be extremely early in development, and it’s entirely possible nothing will ever come of it — we’re just staring at about a dozen lines of code, after all. But it certainly seems like something is in the works, which is good news for anyone with a Google Home and several people in their house.
Update March 2nd, 7:10PM ET: This story has been updated with a comment from Google.