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Google Assistant's Broadcast feature can now reach you from your phone

PCWorld

Looking to summon the entire family even when some loved ones are out and about? Google Assistant's Broadcast feature can now do just that, thanks to a recent update. Google is also rolling out a long-awaited improvement to the Assistant's Family Bell feature. Set to go live today, Google Assistant's enhanced Broadcast feature can now reach members of your family group on their phones as well as on Google smart speakers and displays. For example, you could say "Hey Google, tell my family, dinner will be ready in an hour" from the Google Nest Hub Max in the kitchen, and Google Assistant will broadcast the message to all the other Google speakers and displays in your home, as well as on the iPhones and Android phones of any on-the-go family members.


Apple is ending the HomePod--here's what to buy instead

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

The Apple HomePod is going the way of the dodo, as the tech giant recently announced that it plans to discontinue the four-year-old product to instead focus on the smaller, more wallet-friendly HomePod Mini. The original HomePod sounded great, but was hamstrung by its hefty price tag and comparatively limited smart assistant, Siri, which doesn't offer the tremendous compatibility that standouts like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa boast. Now that it has one foot out the door, you may be looking for a solid replacement. Never fear, as we've pulled out some great picks that can (for the most part) replace the original HomePod without skipping a beat. Here are our picks for the best alternatives to Apple's stellar-sounding smart speaker. The HomePod Mini comes loaded with Apple's smart assistant, Siri.


Google Assistant brings new "Help improve" machine learning option

#artificialintelligence

While Google Assistant more often than not gives us what we're asking for, there is still room for improvement in terms of accuracy. Google previously let us customize how sensitive we want the hotword to be on our smart displays and speakers. But now they're using federated learning with a new "Help improve Assistant" option to teach the system to avoid misactivations and misses. This lets you save audio recordings on your device to teach the speech technologies used for Google Assistant. As per 9 to 5 Google, this new option is turned off by default but when you go to your Google Assistant settings or your Google app's general preference, you'll see something called "Help improve Assistant" that you can turn on.


15 tech tips you won't find in a user's manual

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Most gadgets don't come with a user's manual that spells out every single feature. We learn them by doing, when someone spills the beans, or asking, "How'd you do that?" For example, no one thinks to dive into a new router's settings. The more connected devices you have, the more critical is this step. Tap or click here for a few essential steps to ensure your files, data, and network are safe from hackers and snoops.


Does Google Assistant always say your name wrong? You can teach it to pronounce correctly

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Does Google Assistant always say your name wrong, or maybe the names of people you know? You can soon teach the digital assistant how to pronounce them correctly. Google announced an update rolling out soon to Assistant, available on smartphones and Google Home speakers, that will allow users to teach it how to properly pronounce your name or those in your contacts. Google said the feature will initially be available in English but will roll out to offer more languages soon. "Names matter, and it's frustrating when you're trying to send a text or make a call and Google Assistant mispronounces or simply doesn't recognize a contact," said Yury Pinsky, director of product management at Google, in a blog post published Wednesday.


Google Assistant can finally pronounce names properly with new update

The Independent - Tech

Google has launched a way for users to better improve how its Assistant pronounces names. Users will now be able to teach Google Assistant to enunciate and recognise names of contacts as they are supposed to be said. This can be found in Google Assistant's settings, under Basic Info, and then Nickname. "Assistant will listen to your pronunciation and remember it, without keeping a recording of your voice", Google says in a blog post. "The feature will be available in English and we hope to expand to more languages soon."


Google Assistant can now be taught how to pronounce and recognise names

ZDNet

Google announced it has made a number of upgrades to Google Assistant so that the artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant no longer mispronounces people's names, especially those that are less common, and can better understand the context of conversations. Users can now teach Google Assistant to enunciate and recognise the names of their contacts, by listening to a user pronounce them. Google assured its Assistant would not keep a recording of user voices. The feature is initially available in English, but Google says it plans to expand it in other languages "soon". Google added it rebuilt Assistant's natural language learning models and improved its reference resolution using its BERT machine learning model, so it can process words in relation to one another in a sentence, instead of one-by-one in order.


Google Assistant will let you teach it how to pronounce tricky names

Engadget

Google is introducing a handful new updates that will make Assistant better at pronouncing tricky names and understanding the context of conversations you share with it. To start, you'll soon have the opportunity to teach it how to pronounce the names of your contacts, much like you can already coach it on how to properly say your own name. According to Google, "Assistant will listen to your pronunciation and remember it," with no need for the recording to be kept by the company. Google says the feature will be available in English first, though it "hopes" to make it available in other languages as well. Once you get the new update on your phone, tap the "Record your own" option under the contact field in the Assistant settings menu to get started.


Google Fixes Two Annoying Quirks in Its Voice Assistant

WIRED

I'm not much of a cook, but the few times I've asked Google Assistant on my Nest Mini to start a timer in the kitchen have been hit or miss. All too often, the timer disappears into a void and Google can't tell me how many minutes are left. Other times, it takes multiple attempts to set it properly because Assistant struggled with understanding context. Those problems (and a few others) are about to be resolved. Google's latest update to its voice assistant, which begins rolling out today, greatly improves its contextual understanding when you're asking it to perform a task like setting an alarm or a timer.


15 tech tips you won't find in a user manual

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. Most gadgets don't come with a user manual that spells out every single feature. We learn them by doing, when someone spills the beans, or asking, "How'd you do that?" For example, no one thinks to dive into a new router's settings.