Google on Wednesday announced that it’s bringing a second voice for its Google Assistant app in several international markets, allowing users to interact with a digital assistant that sounds more like the way people around them talk. Nine languages are part of the Assistant voice expansion, including English in the UK and India, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese,, Korean, and Norwegian. Assistant users in the US already have 11 voice options to choose from, by the way, including a John Legend version of Google Assistant.
The new voices were built with “DeepMind’s state-of-the-art WaveNet technology,” so they’re supposed to sound natural “with great pitch and pacing.”
The new voices are available under the Settings menu in the Assistant app, which is where you’ll discover Google’s other significant Assistant-related change. The voices aren’t displayed by gender. Instead, they’re assigned a random color, like orange and red.
Google is clearly looking to take out gender issues out of its virtual assistant. Initially, the Assistant had a default female voice, like many of its competitors, which won’t be the case going forward.
The company said it learned from users that people like to choose between voices to discover the one that sounds right to them and thinks it’s essential to present these voices without labels. Well, aside from colors, because you need a way to tell the voices apart. As you can see in the image above, other colors would also be available to choose from, not just red and orange.
Google said in its blog post that it’s trying to help users experiment with different voices and that it’ll assign Assistant voices randomly when you set up the app in one of the nine countries. As a result, you’ll either get the red or orang voice. You’ll be able to change the voice to choose the one you like most from the app’s settings.