Google Assistant will be smarter about names and contexts

Smart assistants sound almost magical in what they're able to do at our command but they are all powered by computers and code behind the scenes. Unfortunately, computers can actually be quite dumb sometimes, especially with things we take for granted because they come so naturally to us humans. That's especially true with the names we give to our friends and acquaintances. Unsurprisingly, that has also been one of Google Assistant's weaknesses but Google will soon let you fix that by teaching it how those names really sound.

As if languages weren't hard enough, names actually add a layer of complexity on top of that. Not only do some names have weird or unusual pronunciations, some that have the same spelling can even be pronounced differently. Google Assistant tries to do its best with its machine learning but sometimes it really needs a helping hand, or, in this case, voice.

Fortunately, Google Assistant will finally let you do that and let you train it on how to pronounce names in your contacts. It will learn this without actually storing your voice recording on the device for privacy purposes. This way, users will be more willing to call someone on their address book using Google Assistant without worrying about dialing someone else.

Google has also been trying to improve how its Assistant handles context, like what you have asked it recently, or ignore the subtle and little differences you used when setting up timers. The latter will make it easier to cancel or edit timers, especially when you've set up quite a few of them in succession.

Context also refers to conversations where one inquiry might follow from previous ones. Thanks to Google's BERT machine learning technique, Google Assistant will know that when you're asking about the "best beaches", you were actually asking about the best ones in Florida or whatever location you may even have displayed on your screen.