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Google to Discontinue John Legend’s Assistant Voice

Google says goodbye to John Legend Assistant voice

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Google assistant voice
Google has announced that it will discontinue John Legend voice for Assistant voice on March 23. Wikimedia Commons

US-based tech giant Google has announced that it will discontinue John Legend voice for Assistant voice on March 23. This is the latest news.

“#HeyGoogle, serenade me one more time.” Enjoy @JohnLegend’s cameo Google Assistant voice before it comes to an end on March 23,” the company tweeted on Friday.

The company unveiled celebrity voices for Assistant at I/O 2018 with musician John Legend.

According to the Verge, Google never intended to keep the voice cameo forever. It previously noted that the feature would run for limited time, but the company never specified how long it would last.

Google assistant voice
Google unveiled celebrity Assistant voices at I/O 2018 with musician John Legend. Pixabay

As per report, for now, those who really want a celebrity voice as your Google Assistant over the standard selections, Google will continue to offer comedian Issa Rae as an option.

Additionally, Google has started rolling out its article-reading feature ‘Read Out Loud’, which works with 42 languages, to all the Android smartphone users across the globe.

To use the feature, one can simply say: “Hey Google, read it” or “Hey Google, read this page” for the Assistant to read the text on the screen.

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The screen will also highlight the text that Assistant is currently reading so users can follow along on the page as it is being read out loud. One can also alter the reading speed and choose from multiple voices. (IANS)

Next Story

Role of Technology in Tracing and Treating COVID-19 Patients

Technology Helps Doctors, Health Industry Track Patients, Treatments

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COVID-19 technology
As the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to overwhelm doctors and hospitals throughout the country, medical technology firms and health centers are trying to gain “situational awareness”. Pixabay

By Michelle Quinn

As the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to overwhelm doctors and hospitals throughout the country, medical technology firms and health centers are trying to gain “situational awareness” — giving doctors what they need to know about the sick patients filling emergency rooms.

For doctors and staff, “it’s really hard to know what sorts of patients are coming,” said Warren Ratliff, the chief executive of MDmetrix, a software firm that provides analysis of health care inside hospitals.

The staff “can see they’re backing up,” he said. But they have few tools to compare patients showing up today with those admitted yesterday, or to show what treatments might be working on certain groups of patients, he added.

A frustrated doctor

MDmetrix was created by a doctor frustrated that he couldn’t analyze data across patients. With electronic medical records, which have been in use in the U.S. for years, mostly for tracking and billing, physicians typically view one patient’s record at a time.

Enter medical technology firms like MDmetrix, which offer information dashboards and apps so that doctors and hospitals can look for trends and insights across patient outcomes. The technology pulls data from patients’ electronic medical records.

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As they deal with the patients in front of them, hospitals and doctors are struggling to answer what may seem like simple questions, Ratliff said. How many ventilators are being used? Is low oxygen an indicator of COVID-19? Has anyone followed up on patients who were tested and sent home?

COVID-19 technology
Enter medical technology firms like MDmetrix, which offer information dashboards and apps so that doctors and hospitals can look for trends and insights across patient outcomes. (Representational Image). Pixabay

The demand for information extends to whether there are different treatments for different groups, he said.

Different patients, different treatments

“Is there a difference in the treatment between smokers or nonsmokers?” Ratliff said. “In a couple of years, an after-action report will come out. But that’s way too late if you’re fighting a battle right now.”

With the push of a button, clinicians and hospital administrators get MDmetrix’s COVID-19 dashboard of charts and graphs that they can view to improve patient care. The information is a real-time snapshot of “whether treatment protocol A is working better than protocol B for any subset of patients,” Ratliff said.

As for privacy concerns, data pulled from patient records is stripped of its identity and aggregated, complying with health care privacy laws, Ratliff said.

MDmetrix is being used at the University of Washington Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center, both in Seattle. The company is providing its “COVID-19 Mission Control” software for free to hospitals and medical centers.

Leveraging the electronic health record

A recent paper in the Journal of American Medical Informatics Association outlined efforts at the University of California San Diego Health to quickly build new dashboards based on electronic health records to manage the growing crisis.  The authors conclusion: Electronic health records “should be leveraged to their full potential.”

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Over the past several years, there’s been an explosion of technology tools to analyze and aggregate data drawn from electronic health records, said Julia Adler-Milstein, an associate professor of medicine at the University of California-San Francisco. But the COVID-19 pandemic is pushing hospitals and companies to find ways – sometimes in just days – to analyze data and get critical information to decision-makers.

“This has been a pressure test,” she said. “How can we get cuts of our data for the new disease?”

Figuring out trends inside a hospital is also the work of TransformativeMed, an electronic record-keeping application that tracks a patient as he or she moves through the hospital. It is being used at the University of Washington Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center; MedStar Health in the Washington, D.C., area; and VCU Health Center in Richmond, Virginia.

COVID-19 technology
With the push of a button, clinicians and hospital administrators get MDmetrix’s COVID-19 dashboard of charts and graphs that they can view to improve patient care. VOA

Tracking a patient — from symptoms, lab results and treatments — can help a hospital understand how a disease is progressing through a community, how effective treatments are and what isn’t working, said Dr. Rodrigo Martinez, chief clinical officer at TransformativeMed and an ear, nose and throat doctor.

A generational opportunity

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The battle against COVID-19 could be a once-in-a-generation opportunity to greatly improve the health care system, he said. The social distancing requirements will boost telehealth, with patients and their health care providers likely to appreciate how much can be accomplished through video chat, he said. 3-D printing, which is being used to repair and create ventilators, will help the medical supply chain. And home lab tests will also likely grow.

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Add to the list companies such as TransformativeMed and MDmetrix, which are finding trends in patients’ electronic health records.

“It’s not that we are creating new technologies,” Martinez said. “We’ve had technologies waiting in the wings, waiting for the opportunity to be applied.” (VOA)