Google is finally bringing multi-user support for Home, its smart speaker. Multi-user support entails distinguishing between different voices and delivering personalized responses for each one.
Home users have long clamored for such a feature. Until now, users could only pair Home with one Google account, which meant that only one person can take advantage of Home's calendar features, among others. For those living alone, this setup is fine, but chances are there are other people in your home with you, and a single account just won't do.
With the most recent update, up to six people can now access Google Home, all with their individual Google accounts. This means everyone can have their own route information, playlists, calendars, shopping lists, travel information, and all sorts of personalized data Google Assistant can store for you.
How To Get Google Home To Distinguish Between Voices
To make Home distinguish between different voices, tap the card in the Google Home app that says "multi-users is available." Then users are tasked to link their Google accounts to the smart speaker and train it to recognize their voices by barking the familiar "OK Google" or "Hey Google" trigger phrases twice. Google's neural network will then analyze those voices and detect certain characteristics. Moving forward, anytime a user dishes out commands, Home will compare the voice with the one previously analyzed to determine who's speaking.
Aside from personalized results, each Home user may also set up their preferred third-party features, such as services for music or video streaming. If users don't set those up, Google Home just uses the default account's preferences.
Clearly, Google is focusing on personalization here, and it's wise to do so. Its smart speaker is rapidly catching up to Amazon's popular Echo range of devices, and multi-user support bumps its speed up a notch in the race.
"Your Assistant should be personal to you — and now it is. From music to news, your Google Assistant on Google Home is ready to answer your questions and help you get more done," writes Yury Pinsky, product manager of Google Assistant.
A Leg Up In The Voice Assistant Race
Echo simply can't tell voices apart, as Google now claims Home can do. This prevents potential blunders from happening, such as one case where a news broadcast caused a number of Echo devices to order dollhouses. Google even mentions that the feature makes sure that "only you would be able to shop via Google Home."
That said, Google stresses that it's just getting started with the technology, meaning users are bound to encounter snags from time to time. Until it's confident the feature will work sans any missteps, Google advises users not to rely on voice recognition as a security feature.
Unlike Siri or Google Assistant, both of which reside on people's smartphones, smart speakers act as a hub, a central control panel that aims to help members of the household finish perform tasks or control smart home devices. A number of people living in one household will most likely speak to this hub overtime, and providing information specific to each of them is a crucial feature Home needs — and now has — for it to become a household staple.
Google Home's multi-user support is rolling out now to all U.S. users. UK will get it in the coming months, according to Google.
Thoughts about multi-user support on Google Home? Will this new feature be helpful for you? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!