Google Home can now be trained to identify the different voices of people you live with. Today Google announced that its smart speaker can support up to six different accounts on the same device. The addition of multi-user support means that Google Home will now tailor its answers for each person and know which account to pull data from based on their voice. No more hearing someone else’s calendar appointments.
Training the thing to tell people apart sounds rather easy, and Google is using neural networks to identify who’s who! That’s all kinds of cool.
We ask you to say the phrases “Ok Google” and “Hey Google” two times each. Those phrases are then analyzed by a neural network, which can detect certain characteristics of a person's voice. From that point on, any time you say ‘Ok Google’ or “Hey Google” to your Google Home, the neural network will compare the sound of your voice to its previous analysis so we can understand if it's you speaking or not. This comparison takes place only on your device, in a matter of milliseconds.
I added that last bit of emphasis there; clearly Google is trying to avert creepy vibes with this feature. Also, the fine print in the company’s YouTube ad notes that someone with a voice similar to yours might get answers from Home pulled from your profile.
Multi-user support is rolling out in the United States today and will expand to the UK over the coming weeks. Just make sure you’ve got the latest version of the Google Home app, as that’s required to set it up.
So Google Home just got a whole lot more functional for your entire household. Great. But here’s the big downside: Google’s fancy speaker still can’t separate a single human’s personal and work accounts. “We have nothing to announce on multiple accounts per user,” a spokesperson told The Verge. And since the company is using voice recognition to separate accounts, it’s not like you can just set up a separate user for your work calendar and tell the device to switch over.
Someday it’ll happen. For now, and stick with me here, what if you talk in a silly voice to set up a different user for your work account? Maybe that’s dumb. Or maybe I’m a genius.