You might have a surprise next time you use Google Assistant and hear a new voice talking back at you from your devices.
Google have launched secondary voice options for the virtual assistant for the first time outside of the US. There are new voices available in Dutch, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Norwegian, whilst new voices are also planned to launch in India and the UK soon.
The new voices are an attempt by Google to try and move away from gendering their voices. As with most virtual assistants the voice used in Google’s has had a feminine sound. Their new voices are all reported as “male-sounding” though Google have themselves avoided naming them with a gender.
Instead, Google are going to refer to the different voices by colours. The voices will be randomised when users set up a new phone so they could have either voice. Even when users go to their settings to select their preferred voice, the order will shuffled each time so that neither voice is prioritised over the other.
It seems a little like excessive equalising, but I can appreciate what they’ve done and why none-the-less. Last year Google began randomising their Assistant’s presentation in the US and already shuffle the voices on Google Nest and Home devices.
This is the first time that multiple voices for the Google Assistant have been available outside of the US. There are 11 English voices available in the US currently – there’s even a John Legend option. This is also the first time multiple voices will be available in different languages.