Clearly, in the AI/Assistant/Smart Speaker wars, we are on Google’s side around here at Chrome Unboxed. Being fair, there are things that Alexa does better for the time being, but those gaps are steadily closing as Google Assistant gains more actions daily.
What will never change, however, are the inherent names of these assistants. ‘Hey Alexa,’ ‘Hey Siri’ and even ‘Hey Cortana’ all roll off the tongue a bit easier than ‘Hey Google.’ Or ‘OK Google.’ Let’s face it, Google is an odd word.
Additionally, since everyone’s hotword is the same right now, when someone utters ‘Hey Google,’ most devices light up and start listening for commands. I’ve encountered this so many times that I don’t say the phrase out loud any longer unless I’m ready to summon the Assistant. I simply say Hey G if I’m referencing how to talk to Google Home or my phone.
A Fix is Inbound
9to5Google has found references in the latest Google App (7.2.0) APK specifically showing scripts during the setup process that will allow the use of custom hotwords to invoke the Google Assistant. As they explain it:
Strings detail a new set up process where you can “Teach your Assistant to recognize” a new phrase, with examples suggested. Meanwhile, the setup explains how users will be able to use their custom hotword exactly like Ok and Hey Google.
You can head over to their site to see the actual code being referenced, but it is quite clear that a walkthrough of custom hotword setup is being put in place for users to be able to add their own phrase as a way to call upon the Assistant.
So, this solves one of my two previously-mentioned gripes. Being able to get my Google Home to respond with something like ‘Hey ‘Puter’ would not only be easier to say, but a bit more fun as well. According to 9to5Google, the original hotwords will also continue to work, so the idea that a simple OK Google won’t light up every device around me isn’t going to be a reality at this point. For multi-account use, there’s really no way around this I suppose.
I do know one thing: as soon as this feature rolls out, I will be setting a custom hotword immediately.