Google Assistant updates will make alarms and timers better

Improved name pronunciation arrives in wave of improvements

Google Assistant updates
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Google has announced a number of welcome improvements to its Assistant AI, including improved pronunciation recognition, conversational context and alarm accuracy for the Google Assistant.

The update will see the Google Assistant improving on you Android smartphone, as well as your Google Home smart speakers.

We’re particularly happy to hear about the work on setting Google Home timers and alarms, with recognition from Google that people often have several timers running at once and need to be able to distinguish between them easily without spelling everything out.

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Google has rebuilt its NLU (natural language understanding) models to improve its “reference resolution”.

This means that it processes all the words in a command in relation to all the other words, rather than in strict word-by-word order, allowing it to better reflect how people naturally speak.

In practical terms, this means that when you stumble mid-sentence to correct the length of a timer, or use a different phrasing to cancel an alarm than when you set it, Google Assistant should now understand you “nearly 100% accurately”.

These updates are now available for alarms and timers on Google smart speakers in English in the US, and will be found on phones and smart displays soon.

Another welcome change is an improved recognition of contacts’ names if you’re trying to make a call or send a message.

Google Assistant will now listen to and remember your pronunciation of people’s names, meaning it will both recognise them better and pronounce them as you prefer.

This feature will be available in English in the next couple of days, and hopefully in other languages soon.

TAGGED    google home

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