An experimental Google Assistant feature codenamed "Guacamole" will give you the power to issue voice commands without having to preface it with "Hey, Google." That is, if the tech giant decides to give it a wide release. Android Police has spotted the Guacamole option in the Settings of the latest beta version of the Google app, and other people with devices running Android 11 discovered it in their application, as well. According to 9to5Google, only employees testing the feature should have access to it at the moment, and even the FAQ linked in the option leads to an internal page. Tapping Guacamole in Settings will lead you to a Voice Shortcuts page, which says you'll be able to "skip saying'Hey, Google' for help with quick task" if you switch it on. It also links to an FAQ page, which you'll have to read before you can opt in.
Google has made a crucial tweak to its AI assistant to make interactions more conversational. The company has ditched the need to use the wake phrase'OK, Google' or'Hey Google' to signal the start of a follow-up voice command for the talkative personal assistant. After an initial request, Google Assistant can now use artificial intelligence to try to discern whether you are addressing the smart speaker with a fresh query, or simply talking to someone else nearby. However, to do this, the assistant has to send the audio recording to its servers for analysis, which could threaten your privacy, according to security experts. The optional feature, dubbed Continued Conversations, can now be enabled for Google Home, Home Mini, and Home Max owners in the United States.
Google might soon have an alternative to voice matching when you want to use Assistant to get personalized results. The latest beta for Android's Google app includes code references to a previously hinted-at Face Match feature that, as the name implies, would scan your visage to provide tailored commands on camera-equipped devices. While there isn't a detailed description, you'd have to both train the system and could add multiple devices. Your face profile wouldn't be limited to one gadget, which some companies do in the name of security. You could also invite other people to create profiles.
Google's major push into home automation and artificial intelligence has been sort-of realized with the Google Assistant. It lives inside of the Pixel and Google Home, but that's just the start. The company wants to enable your favorite apps and services to connect with it so you can issue voice commands that simplify numerous day-to-day tasks. The destination at the end of this journey is a little clearer with Google recently announcing that Actions on Google will be available for developers next month. This will enable them to create voice commands from the Google Assistant for their apps and services.
OK Google, it's time to take aim at Alexa. Google has announced that consumers can now preorder its Google Home digital assistant for 129, with a ship date of November 4. First revealed at Google I/O in May, Google Home will compete with Amazon's surprisingly popular Echo product line for voice-activated control of the smart home. The price tag is attractive, and it has some features the Echo doesn't, but Google still has a lot of work to do to catch Amazon. Like the Echo, Google Home can recognize natural language and answer simple questions when it detects a "wake" word ("OK Google" for the Google Home, "Alexa" for the Echo). Google has a leg up on Amazon in this regard, as it arguably has the world's best search engine, and the company has been working on speech recognition for many years longer than Amazon.