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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.

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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’s Censored China Search Engine Project Triggers Protests

Several Google employees, including former Senior Scientist Jack Poulson, resigned in September, citing lack of corporate transparency in the wake of the censored search engine project

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The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain. VOA

Google’s offices in the US, UK, Canada, India, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Sweden, Switzerland, and Denmark witnessed renewed protests by human rights groups over its plan to re-enter China through a censored search application code-named “Project Dragonfly”.

The demonstrations were organised by coalition of Chinese, Tibetan, Uighur, and human rights groups outside the tech giant’s offices. The Tibetan advocacy groups that were protesting included Free Tibet and the International Tibet Network.

“They fear that a censored search engine would lead to further oppression of the Tibetans, as filtered searches would erase terms such as ‘Tibet’ and ‘Tiananmen Square’ in line with the official narrative of the Chinese Communist Party,” the Business Insider reported late on Friday.

The same concerns apply to the Chinese citizens, including other oppressed minorities such as Uighur Muslims and Southern Mongolian people, the report added.

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A Google logo is seen at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

The Internet giant designed a censored version for China search engine to blacklist information about human rights, democracy, peaceful protest, and religion in accordance with strict rules on censorship in the country that are enforced by its Communist Party government.

The dispute began in August 2018 when reports surfaced that Google staffers working on “Project Dragonfly” had been using a Beijing-based website to help develop blacklists for the censored search engine, which was designed to block out broad categories of information related to democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest, according to The Intercept.

Also Read- In the Name of Kabaddi, Punjab Youth Stay Back in Canada

Several Google employees, including former Senior Scientist Jack Poulson, resigned in September, citing lack of corporate transparency in the wake of the censored search engine project.

In December, Google was forced to shut down a data analysis system that it was using to develop the search engine and the teams working on “Project Dragonfly” stopped gathering search queries from mainland China. (IANS)