As smart and somewhat useful smart speakers and smart assistants have become, they have also become good for one unintended purpose. They have sometimes become the butt of jokes when citing comical anecdotes about smart speakers suddenly butting into conversations. They have also become sources of horror stories about unintentionally recording or, worse, sending audio clips that were not even meant to be heard by others. Fortunately, Google is now letting users decide how well or how hard Google Assistant will hear them with a new setting.
Most smart assistants, except Amazon’s Alexa, come with not so common names and specific trigger phrases precisely to avoid accidentally waking up the device. Sadly, AI and speech recognition technologies have yet to reach 100% accuracy to avoid those devices mishearing their wake up words. Until then, however, we’ll have to settle for at least a sensitivity option.
Promised back in September last year, it seems that Google is now finally rolling out a feature that lets you decide exactly that sensitivity level. It’s not exactly a fine-grained setting and users can only choose from three settings of the Default, Least Responsive, and Most Responsive.
The good news is that the setting is on a per-device basis. That means you can have a less responsive and more private Google Nest Hub in your bedroom but a Google Nest Home speaker that’s ready to jump into action at any moment.
As with any new feature rollout from Google, it is coming to a small number of users first before wider public availability. Although months already in the making, the timing might also be perfect considering how many more voices are stuck at home these days.