There might come a day when personal assistants can be, well, personal and respond to whatever name we give it. Until that day comes, however, we’re stuck with some trigger words or phrases that may not come naturally to people who imagine controlling their devices with their voice. One such example is “OK, Google”, which sounds a bit contrived and is one syllable too many. Fortunately, Google seems to finally accept “Hey Google” as a valid trigger for Google Assistant on phones. Unsurprisingly, not everyone’s happy about it.
“Hey Google” actually isn’t new. While “OK, Google” was the original phrase, even back during the Google Now days, it hasn’t been the only one. Not since Google launched the Google Home smart home speaker, which responded to “Hey Google”. Now users are reporting that they are being prompted to train or retrain their phones to also recognize “Hey Google” in addition to “OK Google”.
It’s not hard to see why some would prefer the newer trigger. It’s one syllable shorter, rolls off the tongue better, and sounds more natural, if not a bit rude. Then again, Siri never complained.
But there is also one reason why some users are up in arms about the new feature. Those with Google Homes separated their speakers and their phones by using different triggers for each. “Hey Google” would only activate Google Home while “OK Google” would wake up only the phone. With this change, there is a chance that a single “Hey Google” would wake up both.
In a way, that may be what Google wants. It’s trying to create a seamless experience where one can simply switch from one Google device to another without worries. That said, there might be some growing pains from this new Android phone feature and, fortunately, users still have the freedom not to use the new phrase.