Google’s connected speaker is getting an anticipated update Thursday.
Google Home will now support multiple Google accounts and tell the difference between users’ voices. That means you’ll be able to get customized answers for every Google user in your house.
It’s a small, but significant update. One of the big weaknesses with connected speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo is that it’s difficult to switch accounts. That means just one person’s calendar, email, messages, music playlists, and more on a device the entire household is supposed to share.
Google’s new update solves the problem.
Here’s how it works
After setting up individual accounts using the Google Home companion app for iPhone or Android (update coming soon), the Home speaker will link each account to a user with voice recognition. Then, when you use the wake phrase “OK, Google” and ask a question or give a command, Home will deliver personalized responses for that account.
Google says the voice recognition happens on the device, which should help alleviate concerns that Google is keeping tabs on your voice patterns.
Why this matters
Google Home is an important piece of Google’s overall strategy to leverage its expertise in voice control, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Home is powered by Google Assistant, the new digital helper that can be found on Google’s Pixel phones and new Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S8.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai is especially bullish on the prospects of voice and AI as keys to the future of computing, but hasn’t detailed how the company plans to monetize those ambitions as more people move to screen-free computing where they can’t see the digital ads the company makes most of its money from.