Skip to main content

Google Assistant may soon support multiple users and a device called 'Bisto'

smart speaker home security google thumb
The Google Assistant, Google’s AI-powered voice service, is generally great. It can tell supply showtimes for nearby movies, recommend restaurants, control smart home products like Philips Hue bulbs and Nest thermostats, and even host a game of trivia. And if incoming updates are any indication, it is about to get better.

In tow with the latest version (7.0.4) of the beta Google App is framework for upcoming features.

Multi-user hotword detection is perhaps the most significant. Currently, the Assistant can’t recognize multiple users — when two people shout, “Hey, Google,” it can’t differentiate between them. But that might not be the case going forward. Code in the beta app references a new activity screen that will allow up to two people to train the Assistant to recognize their distinct speech patterns.

Once multiple users are able to use the Assistant, Android Police notes that they might be able to access a number of options that were previously available only on their phone, like setting personal reminders, setting messages, and creating calendar events.

It comes on the heels of a false alarm earlier this week. On Monday, some users of the Google Home app on Android received a card indicating that “multiple users [were] now supported.” A Google spokesperson later said that the message had rolled out prematurely.

The new Google app also hints at a “ratings” feature for services. The Google Assistant boasts a growing library of third-party apps that extend its capabilities, but lacks a way for users to rate and review them. The beta app’s code points to Rating Services, which will presumably add that functionality.

Interestingly, the app references an unannounced device: Bisto. There is a new preference screen for Bisto, and it appears alongside known devices such as an Android TV, Google Home, Pixel, and Android Wear. And it seems to support headphones — a coded message in the Google app instructs Bisto users that “Notifications will be read inside [their] headphones.”

It is pure speculation at this point, but Bisto could refer to the rumored successor to Google Home, Google’s eponymous smart home hub. According to The Information, the Mountain View, California-based company is working on an upgraded version with built-in Wi-Fi capabilities.

Editors' Recommendations

Kyle Wiggers
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kyle Wiggers is a writer, Web designer, and podcaster with an acute interest in all things tech. When not reviewing gadgets…
WhatsApp backups may soon count against Google Drive storage
Person texting on a smartphone using WhatsApp.

New evidence found in a beta build of WhatsApp for Android suggests that Google may no longer be offering unlimited storage for WhatsApp backups.

This probably shouldn’t come as a big surprise, as Google has gradually been clamping down on its unlimited storage offerings. For years, Google offered storage allotments for Google Drive customers that ranged from generous to downright unlimited, but the search giant has slowly been walking that back lately.

Read more
Google’s Digital Wellbeing widget hits Android devices soon
Google Pixel 6 Pro clock widgets. Credits: Google official.

A Digital Wellbeing widget will soon arrive to Android devices to help users keep a track of screen time and how much time they spend on Google apps. While the exact release date is currently unknown, it is expected that this widget will eventually be released to all Android devices. Notably, this is a feature that's already available for iPhone users since iOS 12, so Google is very late to the party by comparison.  
As per 9to5Google, Digital Wellbeing will soon get this widget. A teardown of the APK file that Google uploaded to the Play Store revealed that the version 1.0.416751293.beta supported the Digital Wellbeing widget.
Google's Digital Wellbeing app received a widget that manages time spent on apps. Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
Google's more recent widget additions have been appreciated for their usefulness. The Google Photos widget enabled users to decorate their home screens with photos of their closest companions and favorite shots. Meanwhile, YouTube Music also introduced a "recently played" widget for Android 12 users that was available in three size options depending on the home screen layout. The widget provides quick access to played videos, playlists, albums, and more.The screen time checking feature is especially useful to those who suffer from bedtime procrastination and internet addiction. Apps like Instagram have a feature for checking the average amount of time spent on the app in the past week, with an option for setting daily reminders that appear once users reach their time limit, so the fact that Google hasn't had one up till now has been a pretty big omission.

Read more
Google I/O 2021: How to watch the keynote today
Google & Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai

With Google I/O starting in less about three hours, anticipation is hitting its peak. The developers conference will likely hold a lot of news for Google and Android users about new phones, upgrades to the Android OS, and even new Google Assistant-powered smart home devices.

This is Google's first major event of 2021, and the first Google I/O since 2019. Last year's event was canceled due to the pandemic. The good news is that this means that the all-online Google I/O 2021 is open to everyone who wants to attend.
How to watch the Google I/O 2021 Day 1 keynote
Google Keynote (Google I/O ‘21) - American Sign Language

Read more