Artificial Intelligence: Using Google Assistant without pronouncing “Okay Google”

After an important change announced by the American giant last year for its voice assistant, it is no longer necessary to pronounce “Okay Google” or “Hey Google” for certain tasks, so that the assistant responds to requests and opens its microphones to record the request.

This feature makes exchanges more fluid and also simplifies interactions between a user and his smartphone. This novelty was only available for users in English, Japanese or German, with the impossibility of taking advantage of it for a Google account with the assistant defined in French. According to the Android Police site, Google indeed updated its forums on April 1st to be able to indicate that more languages ​​are now taken into account to use this feature.

Besides French (in Canada and France), Google has also added Spanish and Italian. This functionality does not in any way mean that Google Assistant will never again need the pronunciation “Okay Google” or “Hey Google”, on the contrary, these keywords will always be necessary to wake up the assistant, make him understand that the request is indeed addressed to him and that he can therefore process the request. However, in some cases, this keyword may seem redundant.

On its support pages, the American developer gives some examples of cases for which the keyword will no longer be necessary. For example, to repeat an alarm, you must say “Repeat” or to refuse a call by simple voice command, you must say “Refuse”.

The other limit is however still present, since this so-called “quick expressions” feature is only offered on the smart assistant for the Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. It is therefore impossible to use it on a connected speaker such as a Google Nest Audio or a smartphone from another manufacturer. Also, this feature is disabled by default. Users will therefore have to open the settings of their voice assistant, go to the option dedicated to quick expressions and choose the type of interactions for which it is no longer necessary to go through a keyword.

This new feature puts the issue of user privacy back on the table, as the smart assistant is always listening. Google has made it known in several media releases and conferences that the protection of user confidentiality and privacy has been taken into account from the design of Google Assistant and all products that embed it. The company said that when the device is listening, speech is processed only after the words “OK Google” are spoken.

If these terms are not heard, the audio sequence is stored locally on the device (and not sent to remote servers), then it is rejected. Users can access collected data through the My Activity page and delete data they do not wish to retain. Additionally, a mute button can be activated.

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Artificial Intelligence: Using Google Assistant without pronouncing “Okay Google”


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