Google Home may finally have a solution to children “hijacking” the device to buy stuff.
Google Home now supports up to six different accounts on one device and can distinguish between the voices of different users, the company announced on Thursday. It uses a specific voice as a key to share your playlists, commute time and schedule.
One of the best parts of Google Assistant on the phone is that it is highly personalized to you. With Google Home, often being a shared device, it can be tricky to balance privacy and personalization. Ideally, the device only gives out personal details to the targeted user but still works for simple searches and requests for other users.
To set up multi-user support, users train the Assistant to recognize their voice via the Google Home app. Each user can also set up preferences with the app for features like commute and music. The Assistant uses a neural network to analyze the trigger phrases “Ok Google” and “Hey Google” to detect voice characteristics. Then, the network locally compares against those characteristics each time it picks up “Ok Google” or “Hey Google.”
Amazon’s Echo does not yet offer support for distinguishing voices, although the company is rumored to be working on it. Voice recognition could offer much needed protection from people “hijacking” the device, whether by kids or by brands like Burger King trying to use the device for advertising. As noted by The Verge, Home cannot distinguish between work and personal accounts for the same user yet.
The feature is rolling out in the U.S. now and will expand to the UK in the coming months.