Google is finally making good on its promise to offer us new Google Assistant voices, also known as "cameo voices".
Last year, while at the Google I/O 2018 conference, Google previewed artist John Legend's voice as one of six new Google Assistant voices that were in the works. Thanks to Google’s DeepMind artificial intelligence and speech synthesis model WaveNet, Google can now easily sample human speech, thereby cutting down on studio time, to quickly create realistic-sounding voices for Assistant.
So, if you'd rather listen to John Legend versus the somewhat robotic voice of Google Assistant, Google has finally launched the option.
How to pick John Legend as a Google Assistant voice
There are two ways you can do this:
- Ask Google to turn on John Legend's voice. Just say, "Hey Google, talk like a Legend" or "Hey Google, make me a Legend." This works if you own a device where Google Assistant is always listening, such as a Google Home. But if your device doesn't have always-on Assistant enabled, launch Google Assistant (long-press the Home button or press the Assistant button on your phone) and say "talk like a Legend".
- Select John Legend's voice via the Google Assistant app. Open the Google Assistant app on your device, then tap the button with three dots, and tap Settings. From there, tap Preferences, then tap "Assistant Voice", and make your selection.
Note: You can turn off the cameo voice from settings in the Google Assistant app.
What can John Legend's voice do?
At launch, John Legend's voice is more of a cameo appearance. It won't be used for every request. But you can say certain things to hear his voice in a Google Assistant response. Here's a few examples, along with some easter eggs:
John Legend will answer these questions:
- "Do I need an umbrella today?"
- "How do you cook bacon in the oven?"
- "How far away is the moon?"
- "Is there an atmosphere on the moon?"
- "Is Venus the same size as the Earth?"
- "What are jazz hands?"
- "What's the temperature outside?"
- "Why is the sky blue?"
- "What's the weather?"
John Legend Google Assistant easter eggs:
- "Are you John Legend?"
- "Compliment me."
- "Do you know Chrissy Teigen?"
- "How are you?"
- "Serenade me."
- "Sing Happy Birthday."
- "Sing me a song."
- "Tell me a joke."
- "What's your best pickup line?"
- "What's your favorite song?"
- "Who's your celebrity crush?"
Will there be more Google Assistant voices?
It looks like it. Google said "cameo voices" for Google Assistant are a top request, but that John Legend's cameo voice will "only available for a period of time", which leads us to believe more voices are in the works. So, stay tuned!