You’ll soon be able to teach the Google Assistant how to pronounce names.
Google demoed the process in a new video (embedded above). Press a button in the Google Assistant contact section to have the Assistant listen to your pronunciation of a name, and the Assistant will update its records. Google says the feature doesn’t keep a recording of your voice.
Teaching the Google Assistant correct pronunciations will boost voice recognition accuracy as well, which should help when you tell the Assistant to call someone. Google says the feature will be available in English in “the next few days,” with the “hope to expand to more languages soon.”
Using the feature requires that you navigate through the crazy-complicated Google Assistant settings. Open the Google app, then press “More,” “Settings,” “Google Assistant,” and “You.” From there, it looks like the pronunciation of your name will be in “Basic Info,” while the pronunciation of contacts will be in “Your People.”
Even if you have an Android phone, the Google Assistant keeps a completely separate list of contacts from your actual phone contacts, so you’ll have to set up contacts separately if you haven’t already. This section is also where the Assistant will let you tag family members, so you can say things like “call mom” and the Assistant will understand which contact that is.
Google’s blog post also covers a few other improvements coming to the Google Assistant’s timer and alarm recognition. You can now fumble the time designation and correct yourself during the command—for instance, “Set a timer for five… no wait, nine minutes”—and the Google Assistant will just figure it out. You’ll be able to refer to timers by the order you enter them, so commands like “cancel that first timer” will work. The “relative time differences” feature will let you bump up timers and alarms by adding time to them.
The Assistant should also be more lenient about recognizing timer names, even if you don’t repeat the name you first gave them exactly. Google says these new features are rolling out to “Google smart speakers in English in the US and expanding to phones and smart displays soon.”