G’day, Google: U.S. users can now give Assistant a British or Australian accent

Are you a Google Assistant user that wants to give your Assistant a slightly more cultured feel? Google has announced that American users who employ the digital helper in English can now set the device to have a British or Australian accent, if they so choose.

According to Google, the new voices were built using Google’s DeepMind speech synthesis model, and it uses neural networks to generate audio waveforms aimed at sounding more realistic and natural. In other words, even with the new accents, Assistant should continue to sound more and more like a human, rather than a robot.

It’s pretty easy to switch to one of the new voices too. To do so, simply head to the settings on your Android smartphone, then hit the “Assistant” tab. From there, select “Assistant voice,” where you’ll be able to switch to a new voice. Instead of simply labeling them “Australian” or “British,” Google has given the voices a name too — select “Sydney Harbour Blue” for the Australian voice, or “British Racing Green” if you want the British voice.

Google has been building a ton of new features into Assistant over the past few months, and that’s likely to continue as time goes on. For Christmas, Google launched a new feature in which users can “call Santa.” Kids who do so will encounter busy elves preparing for Christmas before they finally get on the line with Santa Claus himself.

Google is also constantly working to make Assistant much more natural-sounding. At Google I/O, the company’s annual developer conference, the company unveiled Duplex, which is Google’s name for its initiative to make Assistant sound more like a human, allowing users to talk to the Assistant like they would to any other person. Duplex is still in its early stages, and it’ll likely be a while before it gets a wide rollout, but once it does it could put Google Assistant head and shoulders above any other digital assistant out there. Part of making Assistant better could be making it more personable, which is a good reason to give Assistant other voices and accents.

Social Media

Google will begin shutting down the classic Hangouts app in October

Google confirmed that it will begin retiring the classic Google Hangouts app in October. The company will start by pushing users to move to the new Google Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet.
Smart Home

Want to change the voice, gender, or language on Google Home? Here's how

If you'd like to hear what Google Assistant sounds like speaking in a male voice, or a female voice that's different from the default voice, you can easily make the switch using the Google Home app.
Smart Home

Legrand’s Smart Lighting touts security, interoperability, and simple setup

Near universal connectivity including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Samsung SmartThings, Nest, Ring, and the Internet of Things is the theme of Legrand's Smart Lighting Radiant collection of switches, dimmers, outlets, and plugs.
Computing

Cortana wants to be friends with Alexa and Google Assistant

Microsoft no longer wants to compete against Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant in the digital assistant space. Instead, it wants to transform Cortana into a skill that can be integrated into other digital assistants.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus photo leaks with dual front-facing camera

It won't be long now; With 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.
Computing

Breeze through security with these checkpoint-friendly laptop bags

Getting through airport security is a drag, but your laptop bag shouldn’t be. Thankfully, these checkpoint-friendly laptop bags will get you and your gear to your destination with ease.
Smart Home

Starbucks coffee delivery lands in 6 more cities via Uber Eats

Starbucks is in the process of expanding its coffee delivery service far beyond Miami. Available via the Uber Eats app, the service has just launched in San Francisco, with five additional cities joining in the coming weeks.
Mobile

How to make a contact group on an iPhone

There's no obvious way to crate contact groups on your iPhone, but you can do it through iCloud or you can install a third-party app to help. We explain both methods as we explore how to make a contact group on an iPhone.
Mobile

Xiaomi shows how its folding smartphone will look, and you’re going to love it

Xiaomi is the latest manufacturer to show off a folding smartphone prototype. The unnamed phone has a different design than others we've seen, adopting a double fold where the sides of the screen fold over the back of the device.
Mobile

These patent images may show the new Moto Razr folding phone

The Motorola Razr V3 is one of the world's most iconic phones, and it could be making a stylistic return in the form of a foldable Motorola smartphone -- but it may cost around $1,500. Is the nostalgia worth it?
Mobile

HMD Global confirms which Nokia phones will definitely receive Android Pie

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.
Mobile

AT&T and Rush System are using 5G to create the 'hospital of the future'

Ready to experience a radical transformation in mobile communication? AT&T is launching mobile 5G in cities across the country over the next few months. Here's everything you need to know about the AT&T 5G rollout.
Mobile

Here's how (and why) to use safe mode with an Android phone

When you have an issue with your phone, safe mode can help you determine whether a third-party app is to blame. If you’re wondering how to access it, or how to turn the feature off in Android, then you have come to the right place.
Music

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.