John Legend Makes His Official Debut in Google Assistant Today – Includes Easter Eggs
John Legend, the Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter, made an impromptu appearance in Google Assistant last week. The response, “Thank you very, very much” was heard by numerous Google Assistant users in response to certain phrases. That Easter egg was quickly removed by Google. However, the introduction of John Legend as a voice option for Google Assistant users was officially announced at Google’s I/O developer conference in 2018 and it is officially available today.
Legend Gets a WaveNet Model and Backup from Red
Users will be able to go into their Google Assistant settings under Assistant Voice and choose Legend as an option. Voicebot has learned that the phrases Legend’s voice will be capable of will be limited and that Google Assistant’s “Red” female voice will be the default for responses that are not read in the artist’s voice. However, while some of the responses by Legend will be based directly on recorded audio, Google did use its WaveNet technology to create a speech synthesis model which means it can generate phrases and responses in his “melodic” voice that were not previously recorded. In terms of how Google decided what types of responses to reserve for the John Legend voice versus a default voice, a company spokesperson told Voicebot:
John’s voice is available for the use cases we thought would bring the most delight to users — when they’re asking questions throughout their day, getting briefed on the weather, or are seeking a bit of fun and personality.
Legendary Easter Eggs
The response, along with a review of the Easter eggs, points to the conclusion that Legend’s voice may be more of occasional flourish to the Google Assistant experience as opposed to supporting a broad set of features. It definitely won’t be available to third-party Google Actions, although you could imagine that many consumer brands would be interested in having John Legend’s voice describe their products to Assistant Action users.
Food Network is also promoting Rachael Ray as a celebrity voice in its Alexa skill this week as a draw for consumers and to add unique personality to the user experience. That is only narrowly available in a single voice app, however, and is not a default for many of the most common use cases of voice assistants, like the Legend experiment. Some of the features and Easter eggs users can access after saying “Hey Google” include:
- “Serenade me”
- “Sing me a song”
- “Are you John Legend?”
- “Do you know Chrissy Teigen?”
- “How are you?”
- “Sing Happy Birthday”
- “Tell me a joke”
- “Who’s your celebrity crush?”
- “What’s your favorite song?”
- “What’s your best pick up line?”
- “Compliment me”
Make ordinary questions extraordinary
- “What’s the weather?”
- “How far away is the moon?”
- “What are jazz hands”?
- “How do you cook bacon in the oven?”
- “Is there an atmosphere on the moon?”
- “Is Venus the same size as the Earth?”
- “Why is the sky blue?”
- “What’s the temperature outside?”
- “Do I need an umbrella today?”
Legend’s Voice is Promoted as a Cameo
Another point to consider is that materials around the introduction of Legend’s voice say it is a “cameo.” That suggests it won’t be around for long, so you may want to try it out this week. As with most Google Assistant features, it is rolling out today and may take some time to populate in some users’ app updates. Voicebot has confirmed it is not yet available in iOS, which often follows Android app updates by several days or weeks.