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Google Assistant can now pronounce your friends’ names properly

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The Google Assistant is solving its often-awkward problems with pronouncing names correctly. All you need to do is teach it how, and the chances are it’ll do a better job of remembering than the bloke in the office you always have to correct.

The new feature involves making a recording of the names you wish the Google Assistant to learn. This will help the assistant recognise their names when you request a phone call, set a meeting or send a message with your voice.

If you’ve got friends with less basic names than the one I’m lumbered with, this is a nice little addition that’ll stop Google mispronouncing those names or failing to recognise them completely.

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In a blog post, Google explains the new AI-based tech that won’t save the recordings, but will remember the pronunciation for future reference when applied to your contacts.

“Names matter, and it’s frustrating when you’re trying to send a text or make a call and Google Assistant mispronounces or simply doesn’t recognize a contact. We want Assistant to accurately recognize and pronounce people’s names as often as possible, especially those that are less common,” the company writes.

“Starting over the next few days, you can teach Google Assistant to enunciate and recognize names of your contacts the way you pronounce them. Assistant will listen to your pronunciation and remember it, without keeping a recording of your voice. This means Assistant will be able to better understand you when you say those names, and also be able to pronounce them correctly. The feature will be available in English and we hope to expand to more languages soon.”

You can see how it works in the video below:

Elsewhere in the blog, Google explains how Assistant is getting more conversational thanks to completely rebuilt natural language understanding tech. This will help the Assistant better understand context and follow-up questions to your initial requests.

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