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One trick to unlock your smart home speaker’s true potential

The widespread adoption of smart home products is one of the biggest recent developments in the tech industry. In fact, during CES 2020, a sizable portion of the convention was dedicated to smart home and internet-of-things products, as well as the voice assistants that make it all possible.

Because of how popular these products have become, voice assistants are still going strong. Manufacturers continue to push valuable updates that add new interactive features and make life indoors even more convenient. Tap or click here to see how Alexa can now be used as an intercom system in your house.

But Alexa isn’t the only platform getting new feature updates. Google is adding a plethora of features — including hot words, multi-speaker settings and voice-matching to more smart speakers than ever before. If you have a device with Google Assistant built-in, here’s how you can reap the benefits.

Google assists Google Assistant with new updates

Google has finally updated Google Assistant to include voice-matching, a popular feature found on competing platforms like Alexa, on even more devices. In a new blog post on the company’s website, Google outlined how this and other new features would be coming to even more speakers in the near future.

Voice-matching is a type of voice recognition that lets software (like Google Assistant or Alexa) pick out your voice from others it hears. By hearing specific inflection patterns and pronunciation, Assistant can now determine whether it’s you who’s speaking as opposed to a different family member.

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Here’s how it works: In your Google Account settings, you can work with your smart speaker to link your account to a voice profile. This makes it so your personalized account features now come into play on your device, meaning tailored recommendations, music and search results are now available to you wherever Google Assistant is.

Not only is Voice-matching now on more devices, but Google’s latest update also adds “hot words” and custom speaker settings to devices that previously did not allow it. With hot words, you can adjust the sensitivity of your Google Assistant to certain prompts, which can help individuals with heavier accents get more out of their smart device.

As for the custom speaker settings, Google will now let users assign a “default” speaker for streaming music or other audio. This is extremely useful for households with multiple smart speakers and can help prevent audio interference or multiple devices playing songs at the same time. You don’t want to wake up the kids, right?

Google doesn’t specify exactly which devices will be compatible with the new update, but based on Google’s wording, it seems like a significant number. The updates are expected to roll out over the next week, so you might not see these new features available right off the bat. To check if they’re live, you can try setting up voice-matching for yourself. Here’s how:

To set up voice-matching, you must link a Google Account to the Google Assistant device. If you have multiple Google Accounts, you can choose which account you want to use.

  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google Home app.
  2. At the bottom, tap Home, followed by Settings.
  3. Under “Google Assistant services,” tap More settings.
  4. Tap Assistant, followed by Voice Match, then Add devices.
  5. Follow the instructions Google Assistant gives you. You will be asked to repeat a few phrases in your own voice to register it.

Not just Google: Amazon’s Alexa is also getting smarter

Voice-matching has been highly sought after for smart speaker owners running Google Assistant, but Alexa has already had that capability for some time. Amazon’s powerhouse AI continues to get smarter as the company adds new features, such as the intercom setting we mentioned above. Tap or click here to see how to set it up.

If you haven’t set up voice-matching for Alexa, doing so will give you a more personalized experience, and will help tailor Alexa’s responses to your searches and queries.

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To get voice-matching set up on Alexa, all you need to do is say “Alexa, learn my voice” and follow the assistant’s instructions. Just like with Google Assistant, you will be asked a series of phrases to repeat so Alexa can get familiar with the unique tones of your voice.

Whether you use Google Assistant, Alexa, or even Siri on the ill-fated HomePod, there are plenty of reasons to own a smart speaker. And with so many new features coming down the pipeline to more speakers, there’s never been a better time to jump in. Tap or click here to see the best smart speakers on sale now.

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