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No more "Ok Google"? Assistant may not need wake words anymore

Google is testing the ability to activate Assistant without using wake word on the smart display devices.

  • Published: October 24, 2020 4:14 PM IST
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Google and other technology companies use wake words to activate voice assistants. This is basically done to make sure the AI-centric assistants don’t listen to all your conversations. But a new finding suggests Google might remove the use of wake words in the near future. The company is reportedly testing a new feature that is compatible with smart display devices. With this feature, the Assistant will hear your commands and respond based on your proximity to the device. Also Read - Google Assistant for smart display gets dark mode and new features

First spotted by the guys at Android Central, YouTuber called Jan Boromeusz shared a video demoing the feature on a Nest Hub Max. This is Google’s smart device with display that supports Assistant. As you can see in the video below, he is able to activate the Assistant without using wake words. Also Read - Google says Hangout users can switch to Chat from next year

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Google ditching wake words soon?

Now, it’s still unclear with the proximity feature will only work on display-based devices. After all, the Nest Hub Max has special features that are able to detect a person close to it. And it’s possible that Google wants to make the best use of the feature available to them. And if they can find a secure way to activate the Assistant without wake word, we’re eager to see how that works out.

The video also talks about the feature codenamed as Blue Steel. So, it’s possible that future smart speakers from Google could offer the feature. This way, you don’t need wake words. But we’re hoping that Google will make sure the privacy part of smart speakers is not compromised because of these changes.

So, for now, the wake word is not going anywhere. You still need them to activate the Assistant. But it wouldn’t be surprising to Blue Steel making wake words redundant in the foreseeable future for smart speakers in the market.

  • Published Date: October 24, 2020 4:14 PM IST
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