You can teach Google Assistant to pronounce contact names right

Chandraveer Mathur
·2-min read


You can teach Google Assistant to pronounce contact names right
You can teach Google Assistant to pronounce contact names right

29 Apr 2021: You can teach Google Assistant to pronounce contact names right

Search giant Google has improved its artificial intelligence-powered voice assistant. This allows the Google Assistant to pronounce difficult contact names, while also keeping a track of the context of your conversations with it.

Google said the improvements will be rolled out for English speakers first in the next few days. The company said that it "hopes" to add other languages as well.

Listen and learn: Google Assistant will remember your pronunciation of contact names

Describing the biggest improvement that helps it properly pronounce contact names, Google said that Assistant will "listen to your pronunciation and remember it". The company claimed that it won't even need to keep your pronunciation recordings.

The feature resembles how you can teach Assistant to pronounce your name correctly. However, that requires spelling out names. For example, "Eva" has to be spelled "Ayva".

Meet BERT: Contextually aware timers can be canceled or modified more conveniently

Google said the Assistant can be taught custom pronunciations by navigating to the Assistant settings menu and using the "Record your own" option under the Contact field.

Additionally, Google is enhancing the contextual awareness for alarms and timers using Assistant's underlying natural language processing technique called BERT.

This means you won't have to use the alarm's or timer's exact name to modify it.

Fact: BERT helps Assistant process sentences instead of individual words

BERT is an acronym for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. Simply put, it is Google's technology that helps process words in relation to other words in a sentence instead of one by one in order. BERT was first unveiled in 2018 for Google Search.

I mean...: Assistant will now tolerate your mid-instruction change of plans

The contextual awareness improvements also help Google Assistant follow along when you change your mind mid-instruction. So, you could have a more natural "conversation" with Assistant.

Integrating BERT into Assistant also helps it correlate previous interactions with the current one. Say, you ask something about Goa and follow-up with a question about recommendations for good hotels, it'll know you mean "hotels in Goa".

Gradual roll-out: Conversations with Google Assistant will become more natural

Although the improvements mean you can interact more naturally with Google Assistant instead of issuing robotic and direct commands, Assistant's interpretation accuracy will only get better with time, just like all other implementations of AI.

Google has already released contextually aware timers for compatible smart speakers in the US. The company said that the features will come to Android devices and smart displays soon.