Google Assistant is available on a wide variety of smart devices, not just those with Google’s name on them. Unfortunately, the reality is that Google’s own devices naturally get some preferential treatment in getting features before others. Sometimes those features never come but sometimes they do just take their time rolling out to others. Fortunately for owners of third-party smart speakers, that day is close and soon they’ll be able to enjoy some of the latest features Google Assistant has to offer.
Voice Match is probably the biggest news here considering how voice-controlled platforms are at the mercy of a single voice. Google Assistant’s Voice Match, however, uses some of that fancy AI to identify up to six people’s unique voices and link them to their individual Google Accounts. No more mixing up appointments when you ask Google for today’s agenda.
You can now also set the hotword sensitivity on your smart speaker or smart display. This feature was introduced a while back but different speakers have different mics and “hearing” qualities. Now you can set them all per speaker as needed.
Not all speakers are created equal, of course, and some are better at doing things than others, like playing music or display pictures in the case of smart displays. Rather than settling for the speaker you just asked, you can set whatever speaker you want to be the default music player, even if it’s in the next room.
It’s definitely reassuring that Google isn’t snubbing third-party Assistant-enabled speakers, at least not indefinitely. The appeal of Google Assistant is that it can work on other companies’ smart speakers but if they only work best on Google’s own brand, they might be better off supporting Amazon Alexa instead. Google hasn’t specified which smart speakers and displays are getting these new Assistant features but word on the street is that Bose and Sonos are the first recipients in this round.