Happy 5th birthday, Google Assistant!

Building a more inclusive Assistant

Beth Tsai, Director, Policy

One of the things I love most about Assistant is how intentional we’ve been about inclusivity. For example, we don’t think of Assistant as having any particular gender, which is reflected in its name. When you set up your Google Nest device, we randomly assign a voice, so you have a 50/50 chance of getting one of two voices — either the “red” voice or the “orange” voice. We don’t formally designate voices as being “male” or “female,” but you can think of the “red” voice as traditionally female sounding, and the “orange” voice as traditionally male sounding.

Bertrand Damiba — Group Product Manager, Language, Translation, Routines & Recommendations

I’m really proud of how our team mobilized to support and educate users around the Black Lives Matter movement through inclusive content. We also added the ability to say “Hey Google, what happened today in Black history?” and “Hey Google, what happened today in Latino history?”

Sheenam Maheshwari — Product Manager, Text-to-Speech

We’ve been working on adding Text-to-Speech voices for Google Assistant that can fluently speak and understand more than one language, even within one utterance (or code-switching) — they’ll launch in the coming days. Check out a preview of the new English-Spanish bilingual voice when you ask Assistant about Latino history. Names will even be pronounced in a more authentic Spanish accent. We’ll add support for English-Hindi and other common language pairs where code-switching often occurs later this year.


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