Google Assistant Has John Legend's Voice

Google Assistant Has John Legend's Voice
Grammy-winner John Legend can now read the weather on Google Home smart speakers.

(CCM) — Google Assistant has been supercharged with its first celebrity voice cameo today in the shape of Grammy-winning artist John Legend, Google announced in a YouTube video.

To switch from the Assistant's regular voice to John Legend's, users simply say "Hey, Google, talk like a Legend," or alternatively they can select his voice in the Assistant's settings using a mobile device.

Users can request a weather forecast, ask questions like "Are we just ordinary people?," and even summon a rendition of Happy Birthday. John Legend's voice will then oblige. Other requests will be responded to in Assistant's regular voice, however.

The John Legend cameo voice was created using Google's WaveNet speech synthesis model which is powered by the company's DeepMind artificial intelligence. It works by sampling speech and using the samples to model new audio waveforms.

"WaveNet allowed us to shorten the studio time, and the model can actually capture the richness of his voice," Sundar Pichai, Google's chief executive explained.

The voice cameo works with Assistant on mobile devices as well as with Google's Home smart speakers, but the John Legend cameo is only available on devices set to U.S. English.

Image: © Google.