Google Assistant Could Soon Support Customizable Hot Words

Last month, Google added “Hey Google” in addition to “OK Google” as an optional hot word for users to call upon the Google Assistant on their smart phones, which was already supported on Google Home devices. But now it seems Google is working on giving users the option to select a customizable wake word of their own. 9 to 5 Google was the first to discover the new command string in their latest teardown of Google App 7.20:

Now, the Google app is prepping support for custom hotwords. (In the strings below, \”%1$s\ refers to a placeholder for either upcoming text or a user-defined phrase.)

<string name=”opa_first_screen_tgoogle_summary”>”You’ll be able to access your Assistant directly by saying \”%1$s\””</string>

<string name=”opa_first_screen_tgoogle_title”>Teach your Assistant to recognize \”%1$s\”</string>

<string name=”hotword_enrollment_tgoogle_summary_usage_sample_title”>Your Assistant will now respond when you say things like:</string>

Strings detail a new set up process where you can “Teach your Assistant to recognize” a new phrase, with examples suggested. Meanwhile, the setup explains how users will be able to use their custom hotword exactly like Ok and Hey Google.

Getting Personal

If is these rumors are true, providing consumers with the option to choose their own hot word could significantly improve the user experience. “Ok Google” and “Hey Google” have never really easily rolled off the tongue. It also makes one feel like you are talking to an actual piece of technology, as the name Google is already well associated in consumer’s minds with the internet.

The personification of a voice assistant is especially important as it fosters a sense of intimacy and trust between the user and the device. Consumers may have rapidly embraced voice assistants, but talking to a computer still doesn’t feel natural to most. Amazon negated this problem by giving its assistant a human name and is often referenced as a “she” rather than an “it.” It is even doubling down on this with its new Super Bowl Ad where Alexa loses “her” voice.

Call Me By Any Name

This has long been a problem for Google. The Google Assistant may be smarter, but do consumers love “it” the way they love Alexa? A customized wake or hot word would address this issue. It would also give the Google Assistant a personalization feature that Alexa doesn’t have or may never have considering the amount of time and money Amazon has put into personifying Alexa as a brand.

If this is true, obviously Google will have considered the consequences of giving consumers free reign to name their Assistant as they could choose something crass or offensive. But those that love the product and use it frequently will select a name that suits them (and one that can be said in public.)

Voicebot readers, what do you think? What name would you select for your Google Assistant? Tweet us your answer here

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