Google is launching a new voice is nine languages: German, French, Japanese, English in the United Kingdom, English in India, Norwegian, Dutch, Italian, and Korean. Previously, those countries only had one voice, while English speakers in the United States have 11 voices to choose from. The voices were built with WaveNet technology from DeepMind, which aims to make the virtual assistant sound natural and human-like in terms of pitch and pacing. To change the voice, users from the nine aforementioned countries need to go into the Settings section on the Google Assistant app, according to a recent blog post from Google written by Brant Ward, a Product Manager for Google Assistant.
Before users choose which voice they prefer, they will be randomly assigned a voice when they initially set up the Assistant with two options available. Ward wrote in the blog post,
“A lot of people are surprised to learn that they don’t always stick with the voice they’ve been using, so give it a shot. You might just find one that sounds even better than the one you’ve been using.”
Google Assistant: The Smartest Voice Assistant?
Although Google Assistant is the second most popular voice assistant behind Amazon’s Alexa, it performed better than Alexa and Siri in an “IQ” test from Loup Ventures. While the Google Assistant answered questions correctly 92.9% of the time, Siri followed at 83.1%, while Alexa came in last at 79.8%. In the same vein, Google Assistant understood queries 100% of the time, compared to 99.8% and 99.9% from Siri and Alexa, respectively.
The test’s questions surrounded everything from local information to navigation and commands. Google Assistant improved by 7% compared to a Loup Ventures test from last year, while Alexa improved by 18% and Siri by 5%. As Apple, Google and Amazon are constantly updating their voice assistants with new voices, languages, skills and data, it is expected that all three voice assistants’ performances will improve over time.