Google Home's assistant can now recognize different voices

In a seriously unusual series of events, Amazon recently patched Echo devices to work even better with Google Calendar, now allowing you to not only to check your calendar but to add new events to it, too.

The latest addition to Google Home's growing skillset is support for multiple users. In other words, they can't tell if I'm giving it a command or you're giving it a command. As Google's promo video shows, questions can be asked from different people in succession with no confusion, as the Home responds with the person's name before relaying their own tailored information. You can get started fiddling around with this today, but only in the US. (Amazon originally fought the order before the suspect agreed to share the information.) Shear said that case illustrated how recordings made in your home may end up being used in unexpected ways.

You'll also need to set up your preferences within the Google Home app (such as personalized music and commutes). That opens up the potential for comments you make in private to be taken out of context or shared to an audience you never intended, particularly if the recording can be definitively identified as your voice.

Once you see your Google Home listed, select "Link your account".

On-the-fly detection of voices sounds like a challenging problem to overcome. So if you ask "What's my day like?"

Google's voice-distinction feature, however, won't prevent unauthorized users from activating the assistant, as long as Home's microphone is turned on. From then on, Google Home will be able to provide personal results because it knows who you are.

The smart assistant is now able to support linking different accounts to one Google Home, allowing the artificially intelligent assistant to distinguish who is talking to it. Apparently, the analysis occurs locally, on the device, rather than on a server, so it only takes milliseconds to complete.

The feature rollout comes to the US first and will expand to the coming months, Google says.

  • Carolyn Briggs