Google Assistant is having an identity crisis

Nobody ever talks about how difficult it is to be a voice activated assistant: constantly dealing with demands from irate users, never being able to fully switch off, plus the expectation that you should understand a huge variety of different languages without ever making a mistake. 

Quite simply, it sounds like hell, and it’s little wonder that Google Assistant is in the midst of an identity crisis, with users reporting random changes in accent, language, and gender when Google Assistant responds to their queries or commands. 

After a number of complaints appeared on the Google Assistant forum, Google acknowledged that there is a problem with its digital assistant, which is built-in to an enormous range of smart speakers like Google Home, wearables, smartphones,  and TV’s.

Zero cooperation

While many users have complained that their devices are not responding to ‘OK, Google’, some have experienced even more disconcerting issues, like the assistant randomly changing the way it speaks to them - including its gender and accent.

One customer reported that her Google Assistant has started speaking in a male voice with an American accent, despite being set to a British female voice, while another said that the assistant had randomly switched from U.S to UK English and was refusing to switch back. 

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Language, please

These issues come just one week after Google announced that Google Assistant would be incorporating bilingual support, meaning that if you live in a multilingual home, you can speak to Google in whichever language suits you - and your Japanese grandmother. 

However, bilingual support is so far only available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese, and requires you to set up your two preferred languages at launch, which doesn’t exactly make it easy for your grandmother to use if she’s not tech savvy.

Whether the current issues are connected to Google Assistant’s new bilingual capabilities is unclear, but we hope it’s feeling better soon. 

Via Digital Trends

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.