“Hey Google, What’s My Name?”
Today Google has added the ability for up to six people to connect their account to one Google Home. The system can distinguish my voice from individuals using the system based purely on their Voice. This has been the holy grail to the Voice First revolution and many thought it would be years away and overtly complicated. The importance of individualized voice biometrics made it a huge barrier to much larger things in the future.
Like most Voice First systems the upgrade is invisible because there is no software to download, it is already “on” for Google Home, but you still need the app to work it (I would have eliminated the app part). To get started go to the Google Home app. Then, look for a card that says ”multi-user is available” when you open the app. If you don’t see a card, click on the icon in the top right to see all of your connected devices. Once you see your Google Home in the list, select “Link your account.”
From there, you’ll teach the Assistant to understand it’s you, not your partner, family member or roommate—and vice versa, based on who’s speaking. For certain features, like personalized music and commute, you’ll also need to set up your preferences within the app.
How does it work? When you connect your account on a Google Home, you are asked to say the phrases “Ok Google” and “Hey Google” two times each. Those phrases are then analyzed by a neural network, which can detect certain characteristics of a person’s voice. From that point on, any time you say “Ok Google” or “Hey Google” to your Google Home, the neural network will compare the sound of your voice to its previous analysis so it can understand if it’s you speaking or not. This comparison takes place only on your device, in a matter of milliseconds. From this point your Assistant should be personal to you—and now it is. From music to news, your Google Assistant on Google Home is ready to answer your questions. This feature will start rolling out today for Google Home users in the U.S., but will expand to the U.K. in the coming months.
This is a very important feature for the expansion of Voice First services. “Know Your Customer” (KYC) is very important to a whole range of activities—from banking to medical to personal information. It is clear that shopping will be one of the largest benefits to the individualized voice biometrics Google has released. Amazon has suffered from this a pain point with the current Alexa system. Apple and Microsoft has also suffered from a lack of individualized voice biometrics. All of this will change this year as all of these companies will release a from of this Google Home system. In particular, Apple will go much further in identifying the user with a visual system.