Speech gets more personal
Google Assistant can already recognize your voice from others and pick up what you’re saying pretty well, but even more improvements look to be on the way: references to “personalized speech recognition” have started popping up in the code of the Google app for Android.
This is courtesy of some keen-eyed observations from the team at 9to5Google (opens in new tab), who found that the latest version of the app will offer to “store audio recordings on this device to help Google Assistant get better at recognizing what you say”.
While we don’t have too much to go on here, it looks as though the feature could be similar to something Google already does on some of its smart speakers: processing some common queries locally on a device to speed up recognition and processing.
Knowing your voice
Based on the snippets of information found hidden in the app, if this functionality is turned off by the user then Google Assistant “will be less accurate at recognizing names and other words that you say frequently”.
While it’s not clear exactly what difference these improvements are going to make, it would seem that local processing on an Android phone and an ability to recognize your own vocal quirks – accent, unique contact names and all – are going to make the Google Assistant experience even more fluid than ever.
At this stage we don’t know when (or even if) Google will push this out officially, but more information should be forthcoming should it become a fully fledged feature. As we heard at Google IO 2022, efforts to make Google Assistant conversations more natural are always ongoing.
Analysis: Google Assistant still has plenty of room for improvement
Google Assistant is arguably the best digital assistant in the business at the moment, thanks to Google’s innovations in machine learning and the way that it reaches into just about every part of our lives, from web search to smart home gadgets. However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t still room for improvement.
The ultimate goal is to have chatting with Google Assistant be as simple and as seamless as chatting with a friend or relative – and there’s still some way to go until that’s the case, despite the regular upgrades that keep getting pushed out.
With the supposed new feature mentioned above focusing on “personalized” conversations, it would seem Google wants to make its Assistant better at understanding those commands and words that are most specific to you.
In other words, it won’t be caught out when you mention a name or a phrase that makes perfect sense to you but that an artificial intelligence system would get confused by. It makes sense to store this data for Google Assistant on your phone too, the device that’s close by you for most of the day.