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Users in the US Can Now Change the Voices of Their Google Assistants

Google rolls out Assistant's new voices in US

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Google's new Search feature gives single result to certain queries. Pixabay

A day after Google announced the addition of six new voices to its Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered Assistant, users in the US can now change the voices of their assistants, a media report said.

Google at its annual developer conference Google I/O on Tuesday announced that people would soon have a choice of choosing from six voices, including one of musician John Legend, to talk to “Google Assistant”.

With these six options, which feature both male and female voices, there are now four different female voices and four different male voices, all speaking in different tones, 9to5google reported on Wednesday.

If users want to change the Assistant’s voice, they can first launch the Home application.

Tap on the menu icon in the top left corner of the display, locate the Google Assistant subheading and then select More settings.

Google.
Google. Pixabay

From a list of sub-menus, choose Preferences and then open Assistant Voice and choose the voice you want. Users can tap on each of the eight voices to hear before choosing a desired voice.

This voice could be used to interact with the Assistant in smartphones, Google Home, Android Auto and Android TV.

Company CEO Sundar Pichai said that Google has been working on newer and more life-like version of its spoken AI that features natural voice that is “closer to how humans speak”.

Also Read: A Smarter Assistant to Offer 6 New Voices

The improvements include more natural pauses “that have meaning” and other subtleties to help create a “more natural dialogue” with Assistant.

This new version of the Assistant is built on a tech machine learning technology called Wavenet, which the company started building out some 18 months ago. (IANS)

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Google Claims It Has “No Plans” To Relaunch A Search Engine in China

Technology companies have recently been a favorite target of many members of the U.S. Congress, who have criticized them over a wide range of issues such as privacy, work in China and allowing foreign meddling in U.S. elections.

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Google
The Chinese flag is seen near the Google sign at the Google china headquarters in Beijing, China. VOA

The United States’ top general said on Thursday that the Chinese military was benefiting from the work Alphabet Inc’s Google was doing in China, where the technology giant has long sought to have a bigger presence.

“The work that Google is doing in China is indirectly benefiting the Chinese military,” Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

“We watch with great concern when industry partners work in China knowing that there is that indirect benefit,” he said.

google
Lawmakers and Google employees have raised concerns the company would comply with China’s internet censorship and surveillance policies if it re-enters the Asian nation’s search engine market. Pixabay

“Frankly, ‘indirect’ may be not a full characterization of the way it really is, it is more of a direct benefit to the Chinese military.”

Last year Google said it was no longer vying for a $10 billion cloud computing contract with the U.S. Defense Department, in part because the company’s new ethical guidelines do not align with the project.

In June, Google said it would not renew a contract to help the U.S. military analyze aerial drone imagery when it expires, as the company sought to defuse an internal uproar over the deal.

At the same time, Google said it has “no plans” to relaunch a search engine in China, though it is continuing to study the idea.

During the hearing, Republican Senator Josh Hawley sharply criticized the tech company, referring to it as “a supposedly American company.”

FILE - Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., speaks during a hearing of a Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, March 6, 2019.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., speaks during a hearing of a Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, March 6, 2019. VOA

Technology companies have recently been a favorite target of many members of the U.S. Congress, who have criticized them over a wide range of issues such as privacy, work in China and allowing foreign meddling in U.S. elections.

Lawmakers and Google employees have raised concerns the company would comply with China’s internet censorship and surveillance policies if it re-enters the Asian nation’s search engine market.

Also Read: India and Pakistan Threaten to Release Missiles at Each Othe

Asked about Dunford’s comments, Google referred to previous statements.

Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai has previously said the company has invested in China for years and plans to continue to do so, but that the company also was continuing to work with the U.S. government on projects in health care, cybersecurity and other fields. (VOA)