[Update: Official] Google is rolling out “Hey Google” sensitivity controls for Google Assistant devices
While Google Assistant-enabled smart speakers and smart displays can be really useful for simple tasks like setting an alarm, checking the weather, or controlling your smart home devices, they still have a long way to go when it comes to nailing speech recognition. I’m sure many of you have faced issues getting your Google Assistant devices to recognize your voice from time-to-time. Having to yell “Hey Google” multiple times to start a voice command can be really annoying. Likewise, it can be equally as annoying when your smart speaker starts listening even though you haven’t actually spoken the hotword. A one-size-fits-all hotword sensitivity threshold clearly isn’t working, so that’s why Google is finally starting to roll out “Hey Google” sensitivity controls.
Back in September, Google announced new privacy-centric features for Google Assistant. One of the most exciting new features they announced is new sensitivity options for the “OK/Hey Google” voice command. Google did not announce when the feature would go live, but in the latest version of the Google Home app (version 188.8.131.52), we managed to surface the new “Hey Google” sensitivity option under Device settings for Google Assistant-enabled smart speakers and smart displays. Tapping this option opens the Google App with the option to control the hotword sensitivity. Users can pick from “Least Sensitive,” “Default,” or “Most Sensitive.” Only the primary account can change the setting for a particular smart speaker or smart display.
A Google spokesperson told The Verge that this “Hey Google” hotword sensitivity feature is starting to “roll out gradually,” which likely means it’ll arrive as a server-side update for most users. Keep an eye out for the “Hey Google” sensitivity option to appear under “Device settings” in the Google Home app in the coming days and weeks. You can download the latest versions of Google Home and the Google App from the Google Play Store links below.
Google Assistant’s enhanced Voice Match setup process and sensitivity options are official. When going through the Voice Match setup process, you will now be asked to say full phrases instead of just “Ok Google” and “Hey Google.” This extra data should allow Assistant to better at understanding your voice.
Also, in the Google Home app, you will be able to adjust the sensitivity of the hotword detection. If you have a speaker or smart display that seems to be activated too easily, you can turn down the sensitivity, or vice versa if the speaker is in a loud room. This feature is starting with English only but more languages will follow.