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.

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