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Google Assistant finally gets a second celebrity voice! Here's how to try it

Google is making good on its promise to offer us new Google Assistant celebrity voices, also known as “cameo voices”.

Last year, while at the Google I/O conference, Google previewed artist John Legend’s voice as one of six new Google Assistant voices that were in the works. The first voice, John Legend, rolled out this past spring. Now, Google is introducing a second celebrity voice: Issa Rae, an American actress best known for her YouTube series Awkward Black Girl and HBO’s InsecureHere’s how you can make her your new Google Assistant.

How to make Issa Rae your Google Assistant voice

There are two ways you can do this:

  1. Ask Google to turn on Issa Rae’s voice. Just say, “Hey Google, talk like Issa.” This works if you own a device with always-listening Google Assistant, such as a Google Home.
  2. Select Issa Rae’s voice via the Google Assistant app. Open the Google Assistant app on your device, then tap the button with three dots, and tap Settings. From there, tap Preferences, then tap Assistant Voice, and make your selection.

Note: You can turn off the cameo voice from settings in the Google Assistant app.

What can Issa Rae’s cameo voice do?

Thanks to Google’s DeepMind artificial intelligence and speech synthesis model WaveNet, Google can now easily sample human speech, thereby cutting down on studio time, to quickly create realistic-sounding voices for Google Assistant. However, these are more like cameo appearances; they won’t be used for every request. But you can say certain things to hear these new voices in a Google Assistant response.

Here are a few examples, including some easter eggs:

  • “Hey Google, Do I need an umbrella today?”
  • “Hey Google, Tell me a secret.”
  • “Hey Google, What do you think of me?”
  • “Hey Google, Give me a quote from Issa Rae.”
  • “Hey Google, Sing a song.”
  • “Hey Google, Tell me a joke.”
  • “Hey Google, Mirror talk.
  • “Hey Google, How do I look?”
  • “Hey Google, Do you love Daniel or Lawrence more?”
  • “Hey Google, Tell me something awkward.”

When will Issa Rae’s voice be available?

Issa Rae’s voice is available now as a cameo on the Google Assistant. It’s only available in English for a limited time in the US.

Which devices support cameo voices?

You can get cameo voices on any device that has the Google Assistant, including Google Home speakers and smart displays like the new Nest Hub Max. You can also get them through Google Assistant on Android and iOS devices.

Will there be more Google Assistant voices?

It looks like it. Google said “cameo voices” for Google Assistant are a top request, but that John Legend and Issa Rae’s cameo voices will “only available for a period of time”, which leads us to believe more voices are in the works. So, stay tuned!



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