Google Assistant gets a second voice option in nine countries

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Google is launching new voices for Google Assistant in nine countries today, adding a secondary voice option outside the US for the first time. When users set up a new Android phone, the default voice will also be chosen at random, so there’ll be a mix of people getting the old and new voices, though you can still change later if you want to.

New voices are available for Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Norwegian in their respective countries. New English voices are also being launched in India and the UK.

Google’s Assistant — like all of the other major smart assistants — launched with a traditionally female-sounding voice. Google has been trying to move away from gendering its assistant, though. These new voices will be traditionally male-sounding, but neither voice will come with a gendered name or description.

Instead, Google will refer to the voices by colors. So one might be named “red” and the other might be named “orange.” The colors and the order they’re presented in will even be randomized, so as to not tilt the scales toward one voice or another if users go to change the voice later on.

Google began randomizing Assistant’s presentation like this last year, and on Google Nest and Home devices in the US, it’s already randomized the default voice.

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Multiple voices have only been available in the US, though, and only in English. Today’s update changes that, even if their availability is still unfortunately limited. International voice options aren’t as expansive either: in the US, there are 11 English-language voices… including John Legend.



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